By Stephen Moorhouse, Partnerships Ranger, Ohakune.
Recently, students from the Central North Island participated in the ‘Kiwi Forever’ programme which seeks to provide future conservation leaders with a greater understanding of conservation in the ‘real world’.
Students selected to take part get to experience hands-on work with endangered species, gain a greater understanding of iwi links to the environment, participate in environmental monitoring and take part in predator control.
The programme runs once a year, and since the first programme was delivered in 2006, more than 200 students have participated.
The chance to get these young people out into the natural environment, exploring the impacts that we, as humans, have on it, is invaluable. You can read about human impacts in a book, or research it online, but to see it in front of you is, I think, a much more profound experience.
The chance to work with some of New Zealand’s endangered species was exciting for the students and they were able to accompany DOC rangers into the field to track kiwi and release whio on the Whakapapanui River.
The students also had the chance to see another side of species recovery—pest control. They learnt how to construct and set DOC200 traps as well as clear trap lines.
Being immersed in Maori culture was another of the highlights for many of the students. Local kaumatua shared Maori cultural views of the natural world, conservation and restoration.
The students enjoyed the experience and were able to give a comprehensive presentation on the experiences and knowledge that they had gained through the programme.
Hopefully with programmes like this one equipping young conservation leaders, the future of our threatened species is in safe hands.