For Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) Horticulture Tutor Don Cross and student Rose Baylis, being part of the team who planted 12 Swamp Maire seedlings grown by NMIT students from the NMIT nursery in the Momorangi Bay reserve in mid-January 2015 was significant. As there are only three known Swamp Maire specimens in that area, this planting will increase the population by 400%.
During the revegetation project, DoC identified 13 species of trees at and around Momorangi Bay. NMIT Horticulture students plan to grow a couple of hundred of each of the 13 species. The best 10 – 15 seedlings will be planted out in a special reserve area behind DoC’s Momorangi Bay camping ground - a popular summer vacation area located on the Grove Arm of Queen Charlotte Sound. It is hoped that these trees will grow to become grandfather trees, and eventually re-seed the Marlborough Sounds area.
The project is one of several NMIT Horticulture Level 4 student based projects. Those students interested in participating in initiatives like this will need to be enrolled in the National Certificate in Horticulture Level 3 and complete a one year course of study that includes the basics of plant propagation, irrigation, diary, agrichemical use, plant identification, pruning, botany, plant protection soils and media.
Once students have completed the one year programme, they have the option to progress to a Level 4 course and be involved in a native plant re-vegetation project similar to the Momorangi project.