How to be a Habitat Hero

Department of Conservation —  03/08/2017

Do you know an early childhood centre, school or community group that’s doing great restoration work or wants to get started and doesn’t know how? Becoming Habitat Heroes is a great place for them to start! This is a call to encourage us all to promote this year’s Habitat Heroes competition in our own spaces.

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Students measuring the depth of the school swamp. Photo: Lynmore Primary Enviro Club

The Habitat Heroes Competition is a DOC run competition that encourages young people to explore a local natural environment and think about how they can make a difference.

This year’s competition runs until the 29th September, with three $500 voucher prizes to contribute to the conservation action project identified in the entry up for garbs. There will be prizes for each of the following categories:

• Explore your local green space

• Explore your local marine space

• Explore your local stream

To enter, groups of two or more students need to:

1. Get a teacher or group leader to register the group online.

2. Explore and investigate the health of a local natural environment. There are teaching and learning resources available to help guide teachers and group leaders.

3. Share a summary of the work on any online forum (school blog, YouTube, Facebook etc.) or social media platform with the hashtag #HabitatHeroes and send the link to

Entries from already existing investigations are welcome – it doesn’t have to be a new project and entries from both school groups and community groups are encouraged.

 Don’t forget to check out the teaching and learning resources for this competition, and other supporting resources on the DOC Education webpage –

Focus on Habitat Heroes in action:

Students from Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua have become fresh water habitat heroes after recognising key problems in their school stream. Rubbish, bank erosion, unwanted pests and a leaky swamp encouraged these students to make a plan of action on creating a healthy habitat for frogs, koura and other water animals in their school’s backyard.

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Lynmore Primary Enviro Club collect rubbish from the Waitawa stream. Photo: Lynmore Primary Enviro Club

An investigation into these problems, to understand exactly what they were up against meant the students were better able to identify key solutions for their Waitawa Stream Restoration Action Plan! Their final plan of action included weekly stream clean ups, planting of new plants, like flax along the stream banks to prevent erosion, building of a dam to stop their swamp from drying up and creating areas in the stream to restore koura habitats.

Find out more about their journey here: Waitawa Stream Restoration

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Country Creche mini beasts hunt. Photo: Linda Jones

Children at Country Crèche, Hamilton have been coming up with some creative ideas to make their playground insect friendly. The centre have become green habitat heroes by working towards developing a native area in their grounds to attract native weta and birds. Students at the creche even constructed an incredible Christmas tree insect house for Hamilton’s ‘Trees at the Meteor’ 2016 event.

Check out this slideshow they put together to share their learning.

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Christmas tree insect house. Photo: Linda Jones

Feeling inspired? Encourage your local schools and community groups to enter the competition and share the learning and inspiration with the rest of New Zealand.

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