Exploring nature these school holidays
How about taking a ramble for the holidays?
With the days becoming longer and warmer, I feel the pull of exploring the outdoors becoming much stronger. With the school holidays and warm spring weather, I find myself with some spare time to spend outside. Chingford Park up North Road offers plenty of opportunity to satisfy my craving for the outdoors. Lindsay Creek, running through the heart of Chingford Park and the Valley itself is particularly alluring as the sight and sound of the water flowing across the river-bed has a calming effect. The creek is also home to many wonderful aquatic species such as tuna (eels), Kōura (freshwater crayfish) and freshwater invertebrates. Across the grassy fields and in the bush, the calls and songs of pīwakawaka (fantails), tūi and korimako (bellbirds) among many others fill the air.
The short loop track carries me up into the bush, where the sound of the wind catching and rustling through the leaves on the trees, draws my attention to them. There are many different species of trees within Chingford Park, each with leaves shaped differently from another. Many native trees hold onto their leaves all year round (known as “evergreen”) although there are a few, like the kōtukutuku (tree fuchsia) and many introduced trees that let go of their leaves (known as “deciduous”) often over winter. Can you find the beautiful tree fuchsia that’s growing next to the bridge? It has orange papery bark.
If I remember to bring my disc with me, the disc golf course takes me through exploring different parts of the lower park. Past the stables, large historic trees and the site of the old house are remnants of the estate that was once owned by P.C. Niell. You may even go past the “Riparian Rhapsody”, a site next to the creek that is being weeded and planted by local community members.
Around the playground and the concrete pad that was once a swimming pool, is the community orchard, a delightful treat when the trees are fruiting. I haven’t yet had the adventurous spirit to tackle the orienteering course that can take you a little more “off the beaten track”, but perhaps now is a good time!
If you’d like to explore Chingford Park this school holidays, but are not too sure where to start, download the “Native Plant ID Walk” below with illustrations from Jo Bone.
Chingford Park Illustrated
Join local valley resident and illustrator Jo Bone as she takes you on a guided walk around an area of Dunedin, taking a moment to sketch the beautiful location you end up in! One of her locations is Chingford Park, where you will explore the bush loop, drawing as many different kinds of leaves you can find. Check out Jo's most recent blog post about her sketching session in Chingford Park here.
If you are interested in learning more about her sketch walks or reading more about her sketching adventures on her blog check out her website here.
Pop-up Trap Library - 10th and 24th October
At the Valley Project community rooms, every second Saturday - 2 pm - 4 pm
Join the Backyard Ecosanctuary by tracking or trapping mammal predators in your backyard.
If you are interested in helping out the native wildlife in your area by trapping mammal predators in your own backyard, please come down and visit the Open VUE team at our Pop-up Trap Library! We will be at the Valley Project Community Rooms every second Saturday from 2 pm to 4 pm!
We will have monitoring devices (tracking tunnels, chew cards and trail cameras) to help you find out what might be lurking in your backyard as well as traps for rats ($10) and possums (free for hire) and some friendly advice! If you would like more information or are interested in volunteering, please email email@example.com, or call the Valley Project on 03 473 8614.
This trap library is made possible as part of the Open VUE Backyard Ecosanctuaries programme and through support from Predator Free Dunedin’s City Sanctuary Project, Dunedin’s Environment Strategy: Te Ao Tūroa, the ECO fund and Predator Free New Zealand.