NatureFiji club members visit Qaraniqio Reserve, plant 150 Sago palm seedlings.

Dressed in their bush gear, thirty one members and friends of our NatureFiji-MareqetiViti club gathered at NFMV’s Qaraniqio Sago Palm reserve on Saturday 13th December eager and ready for their Sago Palm forest experience.

Geared up in hiking shoes, reef shoes, running shoes, sandals, (and for the really brave, flip flops!), long pants and shirts, and fully creamed up with sun screen and insect repellent, the members willingly allowed Dinesh, our designated guide to lead the way into the muddy and soggy Sago palm forest and surrounding thickets.

Despite the dangers of the swarming hornets, falling flat faced in mud and losing our shoes in the (sometimes) knee-deep mud, our members bravely trudged on to explore the Qaraniqio Reserve.

Bordered by steep hills to the west and the Qaraniqio River to the east, this 40 ha site of regenerated and naturally occurring Sago palm forest is to be managed by NatureFiji-MareqetiViti. Taking on this challenge, our members, led by young Mr. Oliver charged into potting the Sago palm seedlings after a hearty lunch of sandwiches and juice provided by Lice Tiqe.

Although we began with a little confusion over the process of potting, and who was to pot what, each member eventually found a niche between dragging the sacks of soil to the potting area, filling in the plastic bags with soil, potting the seedlings, transferring from the bagger to the potter to the pile of potted seedlings, serving the yaqona (many of the members were very thirsty after the 2 1/2 hours walk), standing around ordering everyone, or just taking pictures.

Yes, everyone had a niche, and within an hour of much laughter, bickering, bossing around and twenty-two sacks of soil, we had potted 150 Sago palm seedlings!

We were very fortunate to have had a beautiful sunny day, and very enthusiastic members and friends.

A big vinaka vakalevu to Mr. and Mrs Llew Boddam-Whetham, the current owners of the site for allowing us to use their nursery site and water for the day.

Vinaka vakalevu to our members and friends for your support throughout the year. We hope that you enjoyed the trip as much as we did and look forward to more field work with you all in 2009.

Till then, from the office team, have a Merry Xmas and a Nature-loving New Year!!