Some Place Special
4 July 2022
Some Place Special
Emma Cooper - Account Manager, South Island
The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary is some place special. Tucked away behind The Brook Valley Holiday Park at the site of the former Water Works near Nelson, is the largest predator fenced sanctuary in the South Island, covering 690 hectares of varying terrain from gently graded areas where tracks have been constructed that are suitable for wheelchair access, through to the steep terrain at the top of the ridges in the distance.
Surrounding this area is 14.4km of Predator fencing enclosing Beech Forest and regenerating forest, currently home to 40 tīeke (South Island saddleback), over 100 kākāriki karaka (orange fronted parakeets), numerous native birds, fish, invertebrates, plants and reptiles.
In addition to a small, employed team, approximately 300 volunteers support the vision and endeavors of the Sanctuary through pest detection and management, track maintenance, fence inspection, weeding, field support, fence repair, bird monitoring, track and asset maintenance repair and construction.
With such a large team of people working, Nick Robson, Operations Manager for the Sanctuary, engaged with Vertical Horizonz to deliver a Primary ITO Micro Credential Offroad 4WD course to support the work the team are engaging in and improve health and safety through education and training.
70mm of rain later.
After spending a day in the classroom covering the theory and written assessment while appreciating the fact, they were warm and dry, the trainee’s started day 2 in cool but sunny conditions.
We were fortunate, despite the previous days rain, that the river levels hadn’t risen significantly allowing the water crossing practical to be completed. The educational value to the learners when considering the impact of weather on their ability to conduct activities in a safe manner was emphasised.
At the end of the course the trainer asked the trainees to contribute 2 things they had learnt and 1 thing they had enjoyed. Mention was made of lessons on down hill driving, river crossing, experience of the different vehicles on site, but also getting to know each other as a team and the sense of achievement they felt when they successfully completed the practical and the confidence they had gained throughout the course.
Reflecting on the course delivered to The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary, it was clear to see the direct impact of education on the learner’s self-confidence and the value of continuous education in increasing awareness around health and safety within conservation.