A recent sunny Sunday in Marlborough saw nearly 90 teams of families exploring Meadowbank Station near Blenheim—maps and passports in hand—carrying out eco-challenges with the help of a bunch of community organisations and volunteers.
Clare Moore, DOC Ranger (Wairau), tells us more…
The Amazing Eco Race was based around a three hour rogaine. A rogaine is a map-reading activity, like orienteering, but you can visit any number of control points in any order.
We had 30 controls, with 10 of them having activities to complete.
These activities were based around conservation and the environment, and were run by various organisations such as:
- Sort your stuff—what can be recycled, by local enviroschool
- Birds’ Breakfast—which bird eats what, by Kaipupu Point Mainland Island Sanctuary
- Pack your pack—what to take and what to leave behind on a day walk, by Marlborough Tramping Club
- Catch a Critter—what can you find in the stream, by the Kiwi Conservation Club
Other activities included ‘fire’ fighting, tree identification, spotting local reserves and campsites from a distance (top of a hill overlooking the Wairau Plains), matching the pest with the trap and a spot of broom control.
Teams received a map, course notes and a ‘passport’. The passport contained instructions for the activities and a question for them to answer at each activity. They were briefed and set off at staggered start times to help reduce the congestion at the closest activities.
We wanted an event that would involve several organisations and increase the conservation awareness of families in Marlborough, while getting them out and active.
The event was organised by DOC, Sport Tasman, Marlborough District Council and the Marlborough Orienteering Club. This spread of expertise and event experience was a real bonus and made organising a successful event of this scale achievable.
The event was held on private land just out of Blenheim, adjacent to a council reserve. This was an area which the orienteering club had used for events before—using an area already mapped for orienteering was a definite advantage.
We had a turnout of 87 teams (nearly all families) with a total of about 300 people. There was no entry fee, and all finishers went in the draw for a great bunch of spot prizes that were all donated.
The presence of More FM gave the start/finish area a good vibe, and the KiwiCan giant kiwi wandering around was a hit with the kids.
The most serious incident we had on the day was running out of sausages on the BBQ!
Feedback from the various groups involved has been very positive, as well as from participants. Next year’s one will be a breeze to organise now!