When Arborcamp organizer Jerry Lynch set up his bivvy on Friday evening in the Mt Stuart Reserve west of Milton he was uncertain about the numbers likely to attend the inaugural "Brass Monkey" (as in freeze the balls off a brass monkey) Arborday South Island Arborcamp.
But he need not have worried. A contingent of Auckland climbers including Drew Bristow, Zane Wedding and the Smith brothers Johno and Matt arrived late on Friday night following a marathon 1500km drive to the event. Adam Holland from Christchurch also arrived late on Friday to wake Jerry from his duty as 'camp guardsman'.
By 9:00am on Saturday morning the reserve was full of enthusiastic arborists and humming with the sound of Stihl 020's. About 15 climbers entered the sequoias and oaks on the reserve and did a magnificent job thinning and dead wooding the trees. At least another 20 spectators provided 'moral' support from the ground.
Later in the day Drew and Johno held an informal workshop covering off SRT and the Unicender. Many climbers took the opportunity to trial this new equipment.
The evening concluded with a BBQ and a few beers around the fire where more than a few lies were told.
Thanks to Jerry and helpers Elena O'Neill, Mark Roberts and David Glenn for organizing this Arborday event. Word has it this is likely to become an annual event on the South Island arb calendar - let's hope the rumor is true.
Arborcamp and the Arbor Day planting of a new Sequoia in the Mt Stuart Reserve photographs, taken by Treetools, will be available on Flickr over the next few days.
Arborcamp organizer Jerry Lynch briefing the climbers before work got underway. Note Jerry's attire - it was a very chilly start to Arbor Day at Mt Stuart!