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October 19, 2010

On Shaky Ground

Out of 2000 earthquakes since the 4th September I have not felt any while I was outside on open ground - though they have certainly happened around me. Until this morning: I was planting trees with Project Iva in Charlesworth Reserve and the salt marsh quaked like a bog as a 5M aftershock shook the area, rattled the city and set Cathedral bells ringing. I had planned to have a photo or two of the tree planting but what with the distractions of the morning, including a medical emergency, there are none.

Charlesworth Reserve near the Heathcote-Avon Estuary is reclaimed farmland and landfill and an important feeding ground for migrating birds. From Alaska, godwits fly here for summer feeding before returning to breed near the Bering Strait.  Our group was planting locally sourced coastal shrubs to offset our carbon footprint incurred during air travel to and from Samoa in August.

Project Iva was, and still is, an exciting project which came out of a journalism class at  Unlimited Secondary School in Christchurch. The students aged from 12 to 17, raised funds, collected school equipment and delivered it personally to the children of Iva Primary School on the island of Savaii. It was a privilege to watch my daughter and her friends finding new strengths in themselves and to eventually be hosted by the warm and hospitable people of Iva.

Some salt marsh plantings

Coprosma propinqua
Dodonea viscosa purpurea
Astelia fragrans
Phormium tenax

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