Bringing nature back to Hawke’s Bay
EIT and the University of Waikato are working together to increase educational opportunities in Hawke’s Bay after signing a deed of cooperation last year. As an initial collaboration, the two institutions are jointly offering a free public workshop focussed on ecological restoration.
Napier has already signed up to the People Cities and Nature programme that was started by Professor Bruce Clarkson at the University of Waikato. It’s a four-year project that brings together “a vigorous, highly productive group of urban ecologists” to look at the best methods to bring nature back into urban areas. The researchers come from Waikato, Victoria and Otago universities and Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research.
“We’ve been investigating ways to improve or manipulate habitats to increase populations of native plants, insects, birds and other animals,” says Professor Clarkson. “But the idea has always been to get the community involved, doing the real work to develop and maintain native environments and ecosystems.”
The University’s partnership with EIT is initially focusing on environmental sustainability initiatives. The ecological restoration workshop, taking place at EIT on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 November (9am-4pm), will share tips and tools suitable for restoring the original vegetation cover of the Hawke’s Bay region. This will include plant selection, planting densities, restoration standards, identifying and propagating native plants, and dealing with weeds and browsing animals. Participants can attend one or both days, as there is a mix of common elements and unique sessions across the two days.
Executive Dean and Professor of One Welfare, Nat Waran from EIT says, “we are pleased to be partnering with the University of Waikato whose scientists have considerable research expertise in the environmental area. We are looking forward to developing new and exciting educational and knowledge creation initiatives to underpin the development of ecological inteligence and capability in our region, and to supporting biodiversity conservation and landscape restoration.”
The University has also announced it will be advertising for a professorial chair in integrated catchments, jointly funded with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. Belinda Sleight, the University of Waikato’s director in Hawke’s Bay says this role will help the region to build a stronger research and teaching capability that supports improved environmental outcomes in Hawke’s Bay. “We look forward to working closely with HBRC, EIT and other local stakeholders to further a range of environmental projects,” she says.