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This year we celebrated our 25th year and it has once again been an outstanding year of progress. 2016 has been a very successful year for the Cambridge Tree Trust and our membership is strong and increasing. A core of more than 20 volunteers meets each Tuesday and a record attendance of 30 in early October certainly means we have the capacity to achieve much constructive work on reserves around town. We have certainly made a difference to the Cambridge landscape this year by planting out more than 6,000 plants mostly natives. A major 2016 achievement was being awarded the annual Trust Bank Heritage and Environment award for Waipa Borough County. Rather than tackle new projects 2016 was a year of consolidation and maintenance of existing projects areas. In fact maintenance of our various projects has become a major summer task.

There were many highlights in 2016 and this lists some of them.

The Lola Silcock Park project is now in its 10th year and the tireless work here of Jan and Eric Todd in clearing weeds, spraying and mulching and refining planting programmes has got this area looking grand. The ongoing challenge of keeping on top of weeds here means that regular maintenance is ongoing and needed. The section below Charlie Hunters looks a picture. And the kowhai and olearia display there this year was spectacular..

The Meadow Walk project linking the River Gardens subdivision with Fletcher Place and the Poets Track is now in its fifth year. John and Jane Moodie have been the drivers of development here. It has become a popular walkway and the five years years of planting here have astounded users. The planting and mulching of this ongoing project could not have occurred without the support of school groups from Cambridge High and St Peters School, an annual work day from Fonterra staff and the weekly work of Correction Department teams. The scale of this project is the biggest ever undertaken by the Trust and ongoing maintenance, weed control by spraying then mulching is proving a challenge. John Moodie has mown the walkway grass in spring, the wildflowers are blooming and the fruit trees in the Lions orchard are full of blossom so there should be much summer use of this walkway.

The popular Lake Te Ko Utu is also proving a planting challenge as sections of the steep banks where tall unstable very large gums were cleared required replanting. We are working closely with the Parks and Reserves staff of the Waipa District Council to source, purchase, then grow on in our nursery the 1000’s of plants needed annually for this area The area above the carpark was planted three years ago and annual infilling has also occurred, and in the words of a Cambridge Community Board member, the whole North facing bank looks brilliant. The proposed Lakewood development will give us an opportunity to further develop planting here with their support although we will be watching what they do to our plantings on the Camellia Walk with close interest. The work of Jan and Eric Todd on Blackie’s Bank is superb and that area is looking great.

In the nursery a group led by Bruce McComb has made ongoing improvements and we now have masses of sharpened sticks to support trees we plant in 2017 and beyond.

The whole stockpile of materials gathered by Blackie like the plastic pallets have been sorted by Corrections and removed for their own nursery and the remainder has been taken away using a large hired skip bin. The nursery surrounds have never looked tidier and we have some 12,000 plants growing on for future years. With botanist Joan providing her germinating expertise, Leslie her cutting excellence some 40% of our plants are being produced at no costs other than voluntary passion and labour. A very useful addition to the nursery has been a cold frame which came via Joan and was expertly crafted by Roger Dean. The expertise and abilities of our large group of volunteers is a real strength of our organization.

The Oak Arboretum and the Maple Arboretum are two projects where the Community Board have provided some assistant funding for both the purchase of maples and labeling materials. The planning and work on both these projects is a credit to the passion and drive of the Todds, Moodies and Neville. Much public praise has resulted.

A major planting project this last year was Riverview and the area above the Soldiers Track had some 3000 plants located here after spraying by Waipa District Council. Ongoing work will occur here annually until weeds are under control and plants are well established.

Another project that was started this year was our work with the Resthaven Trust in both planting and mulching an area below their new housing development. Some 2000 plants have been planted in Stage 1 and the mulching of our plants there have kept Correction Department teams busy and is now complete for 2016.

Payne Park is an area of WDC reserve land which is no longer grazed and internal fences have been removed, tree protectors removed and stock-piled with a view to being recycled, a new track will be developed and the whole area will be mowed by council. Work here and at Resthaven will provide us with a few challenges in the next five year and could be a source of income for us.

Roger Dean and his team have been working for the last few years on the establishment of a Bluebell Dell in Anns Patch. Annually more bulbs are being added and the spring flowering display there is well worth a walk.

David Phillipps with the guidance of Chris Twemlow, an IT expert from All Things Web of Hamilton, has been working assiduously on our website and built up an ongoing history of our work. The website is being refined with regular updates. It is now very professional and that is gaining us much kudos. We now have a video gallery on YouTube, accessed from the Home page of website, and a major review is being undertaken because of problems with copyright holders.

Our planning for 2017 is well under way already and root trainer plants for next year are flooding into the nursery and being potted on. Our list of planting projects for next year will ensure we are kept busy.

Financially we are in a very sound position and credit here must go to Greg Liddy and our grants expert Joan McCathie, Donations regularly roll in as our public profile is strong and the work we have done around town greatly appreciated. Grants and support has been received this year from the Hewett Trust, Rotary, Lions, Fresh Choice, Trust Waikato, the Community Board, Cambridge Union Parish Shop, Jumble Around, George Marshall, the Montgomery family and Charlie Hunter to name a few. We need to place on record the growing cooperation and support which we have received from the Waipa District Council and its staff in this last year. The work of Leslie Wood is greatly commended and I thank her for keeping me on track. My thanks also go to the core group whose energy, expertise, enthusiasm and humour each week makes the weekly challenge of organising work routines for you all a joy.

Health wise after last year’s scare I am still available to plot, plan and cajole WDC into assisting us to make Cambridge Parks and Reserves a better place for all to use.

Don Willoughby



  • Bank account for donations: Kiwibank, 38-9005-0635102-01

The 4-minute video below shows what we can do with your donations. Click the "play" arrow, then the "full screen" box at the bottom right of the  picture and the video will play in high definition.