Campbell's Bay Community Forest
Dr Richard Hursthouse
Dr Hursthouse was involved in the forest very early on. The Community Forest people were glad to interview Dr Hursthouse early on in our research. We were very pleased to find how helpful he was by saving our forest. Dr Hursthouse first started working in the forest in 1994 with other helpful planters. He thinks he personally must have planted around 100 plants. When he first came the pampas grass was 10 feet tall. Dr Hursthouse had two children at this school but now both have left and his last child left in 2000. There were old tracks and one old bridge that were overgrown with grass and weeds .
Dr Hursthouse and other parents have a rest after an early morning start working in the forest.
Richard Hursthouse gave this speech at the Campbell's Bay School's 75th Jubilee in the year 2000. This is what he said.
I have been associated with the forest for the last five years, working with Fiona George, who provided an excellent and comprehensive master plan detailing the development of this area into a regenerating and accessible piece of native bush.
In 1994 when the most recent phase of planting began, the forest was a very different place than it is today. Pampas, large wattle trees and blackberry ran wild, while huge pine and acmena on the boundary of the field suppressed native trees. The great majority of these plants have now been cleared, while weed control of honeysuckle, jasmine, ginger and arum is an on-going project. This will always be the case given the smallness of the forest meaning it will always be prey to invasive weeds.
The development of the extensive walkway was an integral part of the plan, developed by Fiona. The hundreds of metres of boardwalk, providing excellent access to the regenerating forest, and has reduced the incidence of people wandering through the undergrowth killing small, regenerating native plants.
This latest development programme has built on the success of earlier planting overseen by Ron Wilcox. Ron's father was the Principal of Campbell's Bay in 1935 and under his direction the pupils planted many of the mature trees the school can be so proud of today. Now some of Ron's grandchildren attend this school and his daughter-in-law, Rosemary, is one of those who has spearheaded the weed control effort along with Anne Tyas.
Bernard Stanley provided another window on the history of the forest to me. Bernard's sons attended the school and his grandchildren are also now here. About 25 years ago he and others planted many of the semi-mature trees such as totara and rimu in the forest.
Of course, there have been setbacks. A major slip on the bank below the field resulted in the loss of a lot of plants and the walkway immediately below the slip, while water in large quantities has caused problems from time to time. As we celebrate this Jubilee it is appropriate to acknowledge those who have contributed so selflessly to this Jubilee project.
Thank you to those who have provided sponsorship:
Projex Hire, Maddren Timber, Placemakers, Stevenson, Woolworths (Milford), Air New Zealand, Tree Care Services, Project Crimson, New Zealand Lotteries Commission, Milford Rotary (money and labour).
Thank you to those who have provided money:
Campbell's Bay School PTA by providing $2,500 over the years
Board of Trustees for designating this as a Jubilee Project and for assisting with the provision of a total of $3,000 over the eyars
Milford Rotary for donating $2,000
New Zealand Lotteries Commission for donating $10,000
Contributions of materials and services to the value of $10,000
Thank you to those who have contributed their time, enthusiasm and expertise. (Without this commitment the project would surely not have progressed as it has)
Brian van der Vorst who oversaw the construction of the extensive boardwalks that give excellent access to the forest
Devon McLean (a Board of Trustees member at the time) who started the most recent planting programme in 1994.
Fiona George for the development of the professional management plan and for her ongoing guidance and enthusiasm.
Parents of the school, and in particular David Haysom, Jo Robinson, Rosemary Wilcox, Anne and Chris Tyas.
Neighbours of the school, Martin Geary, Graeme Dickson, Mr and Mrs Harman.
Murray Bell, the present chairperson of the Board of Trustees, who has perfected the art of walking with posts on each shouder while also pushing a wheelbarrow full of concrete at the same time. (A slight exaggeration, but not much!)
Philippa Newlove (Board of Trustees) for assisting with funding for the project from the New Zealand Lotteries Commission.
Anne Bowmar, Associate Principal, for her tireless work both in the forest and in assisting with the use of the forest as a resource for the implementation of the school curriculum.
John McGowan who for five years hasn't missed a working bee and who has provided numerous stunning and sustaining morning teas.
Teachers who have taken their classes and encouraged participation and the children whose future and inspiration has encouraged all involved with the project.
The project has benefited enormously from the generous donations of time and material resulting in the wonderful asset of the school and the community for the expenditure of very little money directly from the school's resources.
To the Future:
Interpretative signs will be erected shortly
Weed control and more weed control
A change in the treescape as the native trees mature
On-going education of children and parents on the value of open space and the natural environment.
The gift of the Community Forest to Campbell's Bay as a 75th Jubilee Project will be an enduring and increasingly unique tract of plant life in this urban environment that sees more and more people living in less and less space.
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