Campaigner gets college students to help in drive to eradicate highly invasive plant
Environmental category: Richard Henty has stepped up to tackle an environmental scourge by helping eradicate the mothplant weed.
The Botany Downs Secondary College teacher logs every location he sees them on Google Maps and works his way through them with help from his students.
"In summer you kill them and in winter you pull out the pods with the seeds. I've made 6m long poles with a hook on it which rips them out of trees."
Mothplant has beautiful seedpods. But the plant grows quickly and at full height - about 5m - will strangle whatever it grows on.
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"These weeds don't require animals [to disperse]. They're windblown, they're blowing out onto island forests where humans can't see it happening. They crush a tree. They're not selective. They keep growing and getting heavier, trees suffocate."
Mr Henty has identified 1600 sites already and been out every weekend removing them.
"Last year we had 1000 [sites logged]; we visited 200. We've seen 1600 now in total and visited a good many of those.
"Typically it's me visiting in a spare chunk of time - eg summer days, longer evenings. Then I tried getting a vanload of kids coming out. We'd go to an infestation side and pull them out."
Mr Henty says everyone should take responsibility for the problem.
"Everyone should adopt a weed. That would work.There are certainly other people out there like me who have a pet problem, like the guy who noticed rubbish around the coastlines.
"The council can't enforce mothplant removal from a citizen's property, but they're trying to promote awareness. I would assume they're happy with the work we're doing."