Meet the Taranaki Young Conservationists

Department of Conservation —  12/09/2013

The Taranaki Young Conservationists group empowers young people to engage with conservation through a social, fun approach. Co-founder Dion Cowely tells us about the work they do…

Dion standing on a hill at Rotokare Sanctuary.

The beautiful Rotokare Sanctuary

What does your group do?
We provide the opportunity for young people interested in conservation to network with like minded people in a social setting (the pub) and get involved in local restoration projects.

Who can join?
Anyone who wants to, but we focus on attracting young people (older than 18 and younger than 60).

What sparked you to form this group?
A couple of our founding members attended the local Forest and Bird meetings for a while and realised that there was no one attending under the age of 50. The chair of North Taranaki Forest and Bird encouraged them to start something up for young people and so the Taranaki Young Conservationists were born.

A clearing in the bush at Paraninihi (White Cliffs), Taranaki.

Paraninihi (White Cliffs), Taranaki

Do you work with other conservation groups in the community?
Yes, we have worked with the Rotokare Sanctuary, Tiaki Te Mauri O Paraninihi Trust and North Taranaki Forest and Bird on their respective projects.

What are you doing for Conservation Week?
Our Conservation Week event is more about fun than conservation. We are holding an R18 Cloak of Protection night. It’s a drinks and baking affair aimed to introduce adults to this popular card game commonly used by Enviroschools.

What is the best moment your group has had so far?
We had a good time helping out Conrad and the Tiaki Te Mauri O Paraninihi Trust with their pest control programme. We got to explore a remote and normally inaccessible part of Taranaki and Conrad was really stoked we helped out and provided a mean feed back at the marae after we had finished for the day. 

Trapping work at Paraninihi (White Cliffs), Taranaki.

Helping out Tiaki Te Mauri O Paraninihi Trust with trapping

Do you have any great conservation advice to share with our readers?
Our focus is to make conservation fun. If it’s not fun people are reluctant to give up their spare time.

How do I join?
Come along to one of our events. Simply like us on Facebook or email me at