Castlecliff coastal predator control program given major boost
Winning a Whanganui District Council (WDC) youth scholarship has provided the ideal opportunity for Jake Newton to support Progress Castlecliff’s Coast Care group, by contributing predator traps, boxes, and a huge pot of peanut butter. Supported by DOC Predator Free Ranger Sanne Brock, Jake has been able to purchase 28 Victor rat traps, 2 Timms possum traps and he has assembled four wooden trap boxes so the Castlecliff trap line can be extended.
Back in June, several WDC $600-scholarships were awarded to support local rangatahi. Jake receiving his for supporting environment and sustainability improvements, with his current focus being predator control.
Jake’s budget for spending the $600 focused on these purchases, but also included a new pair of hiking boots. These were needed as the soles of Jake’s boots had recently parted company, and a temporary fix was needed using plastic tape. This was during the May school holidays, when Jake was helping Coast Care burn up Boxthorn that had been removed to create space for this winter’s community planting day.
Jake is a Whanganui lad, currently a year 10 student at Whanganui High School, who has recently received his Chief Scout award and is working towards his Duke of Edinburgh award. Keen on outdoor activities, Jake spent two years volunteering at Bushy Park Tarapuruhi feeding the Hihi (stitchbird), prior to helping Coast Care.
Jake is young and fit, as evidenced by him moving lots of driftwood over the fore dune to provide protection for Coast Care’s Spinifex plantings. “A good weight training workout for rowing”, was his comment when coordinator Graham Pearson, expressed surprise at the amount of wood moved.
Since 2005 Coast Care volunteers have been active clearing weeds and adding native plants to the coastal areas to enhance biodiversity. In 2021, to support these activities, Coast Care’s Paul Jackman, with assistance and advice from WDC, DOC and The Learning Environment, set up a predator trapline, as part of the Predator Free 2050 program.
Jake came on board in early 2022, helping Paul and Michele monitor the trap line several times a week, by checking traps every Friday after school. Trapping success is recorded on “TrapNZ” website, with a tally so far of 39 rats, 55 mice and 2 possums.
Castlecliff Coast Care are very appreciative of Jake’s contribution which will see the trap line extended, so it will cover the rear dune area on the domain edge from Bamber to Ngaio streets. Additionally traps that have suffered damage from the harsh coastal conditions can be replaced.
The youngest regular Coast Care volunteer, Jake is a worthy recipient of the WDC scholarship.