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Taking our passions offline

Earlier this month, a group of eight keen SilverStripers and their families did something different...well,...

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Earlier this month, a group of eight keen SilverStripers and their families did something different...well, different for most of us. Rather than hanging out at a local craft beer bar shooting the breeze, we joined Peter Reimann and volunteers from the Trelissick Park Group on their monthly working bee. Our afternoon mission — to plant 52 native trees and remove as much Tradiscantia (a.k.a “Wandering Willie”) as we can.

The reason a group of developers found ourselves being surrounded by these tall and beautiful structures (which we were told are called “trees”) and pulling weeds out of the ground beside what seemed to be an endless supply of unfiltered water (which Peter explained to us was often referred to as a “stream”), is Love Your Water.

The Love Your Water site was built by SilverStripers during a charity hackfest and subsequent hack days, both to support a great cause and as an exercise to upskill new team members in the ways of SilverStripe. It didn’t feel enough to just code for water — we decided to plant trees and experience first-hand why we built this site. Oliver Vetter from Sustainable Coastlines was all too happy to assist and he got us in touch with the Trelissick Park Group to do just that.

rsz screenshot wwwloveyourwaterorg 2015 07 24 09 00 21

As a Wellingtonian, I was delighted to make a new discovery - Trelissick Park. Located in Ngaio Gorge, it’s a pretty park that hugs the side of a steep valley overlooking a stream. The park is ecologically important because of the stream and because it is a corridor for native birds. The Trelissick Park Group has been instrumental in restoring the area. Peter, we’re told, has been volunteering in the park for over twenty years!

Many thanks for coming to our working bee on Sunday afternoon. It’s always impressive how much a sizeable group can achieve in a short time! As I might have mentioned, that whole area was deeply carpeted in Wandering Willie about 10 years ago, making it impossible for native seedlings to emerge. Then a contractor, funded by regional and city councils, sprayed the area and we have followed that up with manual removal periodically. It’s heartening to see natives coming up now. Supplemented by the plantings, it should all look quite a sight in the years to come. ~ Peter Reimann

rsz 2working bee 6In the two hours we spent volunteering, we made short work of the tree planting but hardly a dent in removing the cursed Wandering Willie, which grew in massive smothering patches down steep banks and close to the stream. Still the tea and scones tasted deliciously well-earned when we wrapped up — caked in mud beside the stream.

We are very grateful for the warm welcome from the regular Trelissick Park volunteers, and for Peter’s tree planting lesson and weeding supervision. I also encourage you to volunteer as it’s a fantastic excuse to get outdoors for a couple of hours, meet some nice folks, and do something good for your community.

If you are keen, keep your eye on the Love Your Water site. Recently launched, this site is there to connect established community volunteers groups with fresh volunteers. The Trelissick Park Group have a small and committed membership. But they really appreciated us showing up and hope that more will be inspired to join them. This is exactly the kind of group who can make best use of the Love Your Water site to publicise their tree planting events and connect with people who want to make a difference to their local environment.

About the author
Clarion Coughlan

Clarion is responsible for the career development of SilverStripe's talented team of developers - overseeing things like recruitment, performance management and professional development. She also coordinates the company's internship and mentoring programmes, and describes her role as "supporting and growing the developers at SilverStripe".

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