The Supporters of wildlife sanctuary Tiritiri Matangi (SOTM), an island conservation have launched the Growing Minds programme, aimed at bringing more school children to Tiritiri Matangi Island for the day.
With help of the Auckland Business community, Growing Minds give children – particularly those from lower decile schools – the opportunity to experience a day out on Tiritiri Matangi and see how every person can make a difference to conservation.
Running Events, an Auckland based event management company, has provided generous sponsorship for Growing Minds’ first year. Its 2013 events—the Westfield Albany Lakes Summer Series and Skechers Coatesville Classic—will be 100% non-profit and staff will work for six months for free to guarantee at least $25,000 for Growing Minds.
This will mean a day out on Tiritiri Matangi for at least 1,000 kids during the first year of the Growing Minds programme. Each child will travel free, receive a drink bottle to take home with them, and their school will be given a further $5 per child to go towards their lunch for the day. Ferry company 360 Discovery is also partnering with the programme, funding the accompanying teachers and adults at a ration of one free adult to six children.
Originally cleared for farming, the Tiritiri Matangi Scientific Reserve (Open Sanctuary) is now the site of one of the most successful conservation projects in the world. SOTM, a non-profit conservation volunteer group which formed in 1988, is a major contributor to the success of the island as an open sanctuary.
Since 1984 thousands of people have volunteered their labour or donated money to the project. Over 280,000 trees were planted by volunteers between 1984 and 1994. Most replanted areas are now well established and the island is home to many of our endangered birds including hihi, kokako, takahe and tieke. Volunteer work has shifted to tasks such as bird monitoring, translocations, guiding and inspiring the many visitors to the island, and working with schools through conservation education.
The Growing Minds programme is a great example of how a community group and local business are working in partnership to achieve more for conservation than DOC can do alone. For many of the children participating in the programme, it will be their first boat trip, let alone their first trip to a conservation island. Without the programme many children may never have the chance to see this inspiring “conservation in action”.
For more information on the Growing Minds programme go to www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz/school-visits.