By Manisha Patel, Outreach and Education Coordinator
Happy Conservation Week! It’s our favourite week of the year—a week to celebrate all things conservation by getting out and enjoying nature.
Conservation Week 2015 runs from the 1–8 November and this year it’s all about “Healthy Nature Healthy People”.
Research shows that regularly taking part in activities in the outdoors leads to improved physical and mental health. This year we are encouraging New Zealanders to get out into nature and become aware of the link between a healthy natural environment and their own health and well-being.
There are over 130 events up and down the country organised by DOC staff and partners. These events range from a guided snorkel day in the Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve to kids triathlon training at Mountfort Park in Manurewa to a Heli–bike/ Heli-Hike adventure in the Paparoas. Other events include weeding and gecko hunting in Opunake, a community rodent hunt in Rotorua and a family picnic at Mount Thomas near Christchurch.
This year DOC has introduced the National Geocaching Challenge. Caches (containers) have been placed specially for Conservation Week with great prizes up for grabs from Air New Zealand and Macpac. Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt using GPS or your mobile phone to find caches in the great outdoors. Popular with both children and adults it’s a great way to discover new places.
Find a Whio
Back again this year is the Find a Whio competition, which is a virtual hunt to find a whio. It’s designed for children, but it’s something that everyone can enjoy – and there is an amazing whio adventure to be won!
Habitat Heroes is a new competition designed for primary school aged children. It encourages students to go out, explore a local place and think about how they can make a difference. Three teaching and learning resources with curriculum links have been created to guide teachers on simple scientific tests to assess the health of a local natural environment.
Congratulations to Katikati College for their winning entry ‘Bring back the kereru‘.
The students hope to bring back the kererū and restore the gully near the college by removing rubbish, weeding, replanting, and improving water quality.
For more information and ideas for how you can celebrate Conservation Week visit the DOC website.