After we watched the sunrise we made our way back down the mountain and headed to Mclaren falls, which hosted a small rainforest. While we were there Doug informed us about different types of plants such as the epiphyte. Epiphyte grows on substrates such as fallen trees or logs. The rainforest had been wiped out by the lava flow from the eruption of a volcano 800 years ago, the oldest trees in the forest was around 700 years old. We observed fourth generation forest and small patches of first generation where there had been erosion from the recent heavy rains. As we made our way down the path we came around a corner where there was a nice waterfall, where we all stopped to take pictures. A little farther up the trail we found some glow worm webbing along the edge of the trail under the overhangs.
After we made our way back to the beginning of the trail we began to help Mary, Joe, and Tristan with their group project. Here we helped by disturbing the sediment and rocks within the river and collecting any disturbed insects with our nets. We then dumped the insects into a small pan so we could identify each one.
Our next adventure for the day was heading to Bobbies fish market for some fresh fish and chips, overall the group enjoyed the fish and chips while trying to keep away the hungry gulls. After we finished our fish and chips we headed to a rugby game which we made the end of the second half to see the Tauranga men’s League City club team come away with a victory. Next we headed back to the sanctuary that we had visited the day before to help plant young native trees. Doug showed us how to properly plant each tree in the side of the hill. This was a difficult task because the hill side was extremely steep. The reason for the tree plantings was to plant native species that were about three years old giving them the opportunity to out compete the invasive plants. This lets the native plants create a canopy that produces shade which doesn’t allow the invasive plants to thrive in the open sunlight. This was a good experience because we were giving back to New Zealand, and learning how hard work can pay off in the long run for our natural ecosystems. Something Doug said really stuck with me: “It doesn’t matter how many trees we plant, but how well we plant them”.