Nelson schools revegetation project
Marsden Valley Reserve ~ a generation of care
Almost 20 years of care and hard work by local schools has seen a total transformation of the Marsden Valley Reserve in Stoke. You can see the fruits of their labours when you park and walk from the small car park beside the Stoke War Memorial, just a few hundred metres past the cemetery entrance on Marsden Valley Road.
Back in 1988 a group of children from Stoke School visited the area and were shocked at how much damage invading pest plants were doing to the native bush.
Old Mans Beard and Banana Passionfruit Vine were choking the life out of the area and had already finished off several large trees. The students decided to get proactive and offered their services to help look after the area.
The Waimea County Council owned the land in those days and it began a long co-operative relationship (continued by Nelson City Council after local government reforms in 1989) with several schools, Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird and other sponsors.
Large areas were cleared of dead native trees and the pest plants that had killed them off. Each school was allocated its own strip of reserve to look after. They visited the site at least twice yearly for planting and weeding.
Plants and equipment were supplied by the Council and the project was overseen by a voluntary group, Nelson Tree Planters.
Over the years Waimea and Broadgreen Intermediates, Birchwood, Nayland, Enner Glynn, Stoke, Tahunanui, Victory, Auckland Point, Richmond and Henley Primary Schools, Nayland College and Nelson College for Girls have all taken part in the revegetation project.
By the late 1990s the replanting was complete and now this area is flourishing through natural regeneration. Well-formed walking tracks allow visitors to stroll through the area and make the most of the great work that has been done.
Many of the schools continue their relationship with Council and have been involved in planting further up the Valley, most recently along the start of the Barnicoat Track. Their visits to this open air classroom allow students to learn more about bush regeneration, stream care and many other conservation related topics.