Gordon Park Scenic Reserve (GPSR), beyond Whanganui East, is a little gem.
Situated at the corner of Kaimatira Rd and No3 Line to the east of State Highway 4, it is a precious 14.5-hectare sample of a lowland forest type that was once common in the area. Tawa, kahikatea, matai, pukatea, titoki, kowhai and totara abound.
Twice a month, Friends of Gordon Park (FoGP) work in the Department of Conservation reserve, under the supervision of ecologist Colin Ogle and alongside DOC employee Peter Lock. Weeding, planting, rare plant identification and seed collecting are some of the activities.
Also involved in GPSR are children and teachers at a number of Whanganui's nine enviroschools.
Last month it was the turn of Okoia School. Sixty children were ferried by van to the reserve, in groups of 15, to dig up desirable small native plants on or near the track, then pot them up. They rescued 150 native plants which would have been destroyed by trampling or weedeater.
Later, the plants were taken back to the school for nurturing. Next winter, the children will return to put the plants in the ground.
It was community ranger Scotty Moore's last day on the job before taking up the role of freshwater co-ordinator for Horizons Regional Council on October 1.
"It's all about collaboration," he said.
"DOC, the Whanganui Regional Museum, Horizons and the enviroschools work together to help the school children connect with their local piece of forest as well as participating in other conservation activities on school grounds."
If you wish to be involved, contact Colin Ogle, 347 8547.
Enviroschools in the Whanganui area
Kai Iwi School Bronze
Love and Learn Care and Education Bronze
St George's Preparatory School
St John's Hill School GreenGold
Whanganui Intermediate Silver