Nicola Mountfort, the Interim Associate Pastor at Eastview Baptist Church in Auckland, tells us about the newly-formed Eastview Eco Group. Members as young as 11 and as mature as 80 have spent time working shoulder-to-shoulder ripping out weeds at their local Mangemangeroa Reserve, helping to care for God’s creation.

We have had some fun this year at Eastview Baptist Church! Together, we have undergone a full-church Appreciative Inquiry process guided by the wonderful Raewyn Moodie (Kaitiaki with the Northern Baptist Association). The fruit of that process (as well as having a lot of fun) was discerning a church-wide vision of our priorities.

One of our priorities is “Outreach and Mission”, and as part of that, we have felt the urge to care for our environment and ask others to help. So, we gathered an Eastview Eco Group and enquired about helping at our local Mangemangeroa Reserve.

The Mangemangeroa Reserve is a council reserve in east Auckland which has been transformed from farmland with residual bush into a well-established native reserve with popular walking tracks. Drawing on a church member’s long involvement with planting and maintenance in the reserve, the Eastview Eco Group has started what is hoped to be a long-term project of caring for a section of the track.

On the inaugural day, the intergenerational Eco Group, aged 11 to 80, spent two hours removing tradescantia, plectranthus and other invasive species. We put the weeds into a huge black weed sack to cook over the summer, by which time the contents will be mulch and spread on the forest floor. The group were pleased to uncover amongst the weeds regenerating natives such as kōwhai and nikau. The youngest member found a historic relic amongst the weeds: a large steel tyre probably from an old cart wheel.

The afternoon was an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. The activity also generated a positive response from those walking along the track. The time was topped off by an afternoon tea at a nearby church member’s house. What could be better?!

Photos supplied by Eastview Baptist Church.

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