Hamilton has a variety of committed conservationist groups making a contribution to protecting and enhancing the environment of the city.
Tui 2000 Inc helped initiate the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park 14 years ago. It is New Zealand's largest inland restoration project.
Moira Cursey from Waikato Biodiversity says the project aims to restore the native trees and animals that were once present across 60ha of land.
"Maybe one day the residents of the area can again hear kiwi calling," says Moira.
Mangaiti Gully Restoration Group is a dedicated group of conservationists who have built boardwalks through Mangaiti Gully, weeded extensively and replanted the area with native trees that provide food for birds.
They also undertake animal predator control and survey insects and bird life to monitor the success of their restoration work.
Riverlea Environment Society Inc works in and around Hammond Park on the edge of the Waikato River.
They weed and plant native trees to protect and enhance the area. They also undertake animal pest control to reduce the possums and rats in the area so that native birds can survive.
The group is a member of Project Echo, a movement to protect the native long-tailed bat (pekapeka) which live in the park. You may notice bat boxes on some trees in the park which provide an optional roost for the bats during the breeding season.
Mangakotukutuku Stream Care Group works along the Mangakotukutuku stream and gully near Fitzroy.
The group is planting and weeding alongside the stream to improve the water quality and stabilise the bank plus clearing rubbish from the stream.
The cleaner water will allow more fish to breed in the stream and a clearer habitat for migratory fish which move up and down the stream to connect with the Waikato River.
Seeley Gully Friends is an informal network of people, most of whom live locally, who treasure a special gully gifted to the people of Hamilton by the doctor who looked after it for nearly 60 years — Alwyn J. Seeley. The friends carry out weeding, planting and track maintenance in the gully.
A 12ha gully is being restored by the Kukutāruhe Education Trust. The gully is between Waikato Diocesan School for Girls, Fairfield College and residential housing.
Parts of the gully are full of invasive weeds and students from both schools and locals are working to clear the gully of weeds and follow up with planting.
The project is providing students with learning in ecological restoration. The restoration of Kukutaruhe gully is part of the Fairfield Project which is working towards establishing a Sustainable Education Centre on land behind Fairfield College.
A small group of people (Miropiko Weedbusters) keep an eye on Miropiko Reserve off River Road and make sure that weeds are kept out of the reserve to protect the native plantings.
The Donny Park Restoration Project regularly works in and around Donny Park to clear weeds from the gully and restore the stream banks and wetland in the area.
The Tzu Chi Foundation and local residents are members of working bees supported by the Hamilton City Council Community Planting Co-ordinator, Parks and Recreation.
Similar work occurs in Humaire Park and members of the local neighbourhood are removing infestations of ivy, privet, woolly nightshade and bamboo.
Another group Transformation from the Roots Up, lead by Shepherd Issac is focusing on restoring an area behind Hillcrest Stadium. They link in with Kirikiriroa Marae, Knighton School and ATC training corps to plant a forest of kahikatea, mataī, rimu and tōtara as part of the 'bush corridor' linking the city to the river.
Finally, Predator Free Hamilton Trust (PFH) was formed in 2016 to work with Hamilton residents, institutions and agencies to encourage and coordinate the effective and humane control and eradication of pest animals within Hamilton City.
They have run workshops to share knowledge and expertise on how to reduce the rat and possum populations.
If you're out and about in these gullies and parks and feel inspired to lend a hand contact: 088 246348 to be put in touch with the organisers of the working bees.
Every little bit counts towards making our city a place for people to enjoy nature on their back doorstep.