A walking path through the Orokonui Ecosanctuary is another project of the Rotary Club of Dunedin. Since the construction of the path, the club has had ongoing involvement with the sanctuary.
Orokonui Ecosanctuary is an outstanding example of a partnership involving input from volunteers and experts, with financial resources coming from many sources. It is the flagship biodiversity project for New Zealand’s South Island, where multiple species of plants and animals are protected from predators. A predator-proof fence surrounds 307 hectares of Coastal Otago forest, pests have been removed, habitat has been enhanced with weed control and planting, and many rare and endangered species have been reintroduced.
“The water fountains were proposed by University of Otago food science PhD students, Victoria Purdy and Rebecca Roberts, who came up with the idea while attending a Rotary Youth Leadership Award program.”
Club members held working bees to prepare the 2.16km of track, which runs from the top to the bottom of the sanctuary. It is now known as Saddleback Valley Track, named after the saddleback forest bird, a threatened species from an island in Fiordland that found protection in the Ecosanctuary.
Since the track work, the club has donated $5,000 to the Otago Natural History Trust, the charitable trust that administers the Ecosanctuary. The funds will be used for maintenance or enhancement. Recently, they also helped with the installation of two drinking water fountains.
The water fountains were proposed by University of Otago food science PhD students, Victoria Purdy and Rebecca Roberts, who came up with the idea while attending a Rotary Youth Leadership Award program.
The Rotary Club of Dunedin supported the project, helping to facilitate the sourcing and site for the water fountains, and funding their installation. Club member Fiona Nyhof said the overall cost of the community project was $8,000-$10,000.