Sand dunes are just a coastal playground … right? That’s what we, CISV Auckland, thought before embarking on this coastal project. As we learned, dunes provide protection from storms and offer beach stability, as well as playing host to native wildlife. However, thanks to humans, they are under threat.
To help to restore the dunes, we undertook a project which helped us learn not only how we can help the dunes, but also, why they’re so important to the coastal environment.
The first step was to DISCOVER the problem. For this, we held an information evening open to the public featuring a coastal engineer.
The next step, the logical follow up to discover, was UNDERSTAND: go and check out the environment. Understand the dramatic impacts of dune erosion, such as the landslips which prompted a remodelling of the carpark, and relocation of the Muriwai Volunteer Lifesaving Club.
We used a beach day to remove weeds and gain a first-hand look into how the native spinifex plants worked to restore the dunes. For the kids (and kids at heart) we organised a plays evening, where a group of 50 children aged nine and up, with encouragement from leaders, were challenged to come up with creative solutions in the form of skits for how to stop erosion.
After completing the DISCOVER and UNDERSTAND stages of our project, we were able to put our work boots on for the final stage: CREATE. We put our heads together and came up with eye-catching signs asking people not use walkways rather than walk over the dunes. The signs featured fun and quirky messages, such as one based off the Tui ads “Chicks dig dudes who walk on dunes… yeah right!”
With funds from an Environment Initiatives grant ($1035) and many (many) sausage sizzles aided by the Glen Eden Mad Butcher, CISV Auckland bought a total of $2100 worth of native sand-binding spinifex plants. And with the help of the local ranger, and some hardy volunteers, we were able to plant over 900 spinifex plants in a single afternoon.
Overall, the project was a hugely rewarding experience, and participants young and old can take pride in their efforts to understand, and preserve some of New Zealand’s beautiful coastline.
Mosaic is open to everyone; old, young, CISVer, non-CISVer all are welcome! So if you are interested in doing something for your community and working with a great group of volunteers or just to find out more contact:
Phone: text or call Sophie on 02102312540