Archives For Old Conservation Week posts

The newest Kiwi Ranger site is Ōtamahua/Quail  Island near Christchurch – the first island site and the first Kiwi Ranger site close to a city. It’s a perfect place for families to make memories together.

Maddie Harrison and William Webb at the ships graveyard; photo S Mankelow DOC.

Maddie Harrison and William Webb at the ships graveyard, Otamahua/Quail Island

The author Sarah, as a leggy 13-year-old in the Kaimanawas.

The author Sarah, as a leggy 13-year-old in the Kaimanawas.

My own strongest childhood memories are all of experiences in nature, thanks to my father who took me to lots of wild places. I have memories of walking behind him holding onto his pack as we balanced across a log bridge; of playing explorers by wading down a stream in the Kaimais, collecting tadpoles and waving toi toi flags. As a teenager he took me on wilder tramps, where we camped under tent flies and saw no one else for days on end.

These memories and experiences were a huge influence on the adult I am today, someone who works for DOC because I believe in the work we do. I’m trying to do the same for my own kids – but in this increasingly urban and tech-driven world it’s getting pretty hard. There are less “wild places” in cities. I’m competing with the TV, the computer, gaming devices, for their attention – and not always winning.

There is growing evidence that children are increasingly disconnected from that natural world. International surveys show that fewer children are experiencing nature directly, with many playing indoors rather than out. Research also shows that childhood experiences with nature plays a critical role in determining life attitudes, knowledge and behaviours towards the environment. I know that’s true for me.

Maddie; photo S Mankelow DOC.

Maddie filling out her Kiwi Ranger activity booklet

But how do we help families that may be disconnected from these opportunities, or who may not have had the same influences in their own lives, get reconnected?

Kiwi Ranger is one way. It’s a network of experiential interpretation sites, designed to help families connect with key conservation places.  At its core is a booklet of activities and a badge to collect each unique to each site, similar to the highly successful Junior Ranger in USA.

Each booklet acts like a guide to experiencing our wild places, some of which are a bit daunting to families visiting for the first time. It helps them to stop and take a closer look, to make the most of their visit, so its not just a nice walk, but an experience worth remembering and treasuring.

So far it’s only in the South Island – but North Island sites are coming on board next year.

On Sunday 9 December we are launching Ōtamahua / Quail Island. My son William and his friend Maddie helped trial the booklet and will be getting their badges presented to them in a special ceremony.  We will have a sausage sizzle on the beach and we hope lots of other families will come along and become Kiwi Rangers too.

I’m hoping this will be an experience they will remember.

Kiwi Ranger Quail Island.

William Webb and Maddie Harrison – Kiwi Rangers

Otamahua / Quail Island badge. P.SThe Ōtamahua / Quail Island Kiwi Ranger booklet can be picked up from Black Cat Ferries, the Lyttelton i-SITE or from the Mahaanui Area DOC Office in Sockburn.

Return your completed booklet to the any of the three locations above to claim your badge!

Youtube clip: Quail Island Kiwi Ranger

Skraaarrrk!  You’ve probably already noticed that as the Spokesbird for Conversation I’ve been running a photo contest to celebrate people and parks for Conservation Week 2012.

Well, after a frenzied voting period on my Facebook page to get our top ten photos, my pal (and internationally recognised nature photographer extraordinaire) Rob Suisted has chosen the winner. Boom-roll please…


Congratulations Jill Hoffman from Invercargill!

Photo of three children tramping in the Iris Burn Valley, Kepler Track, Te Anau with a rainbow in the background.

Early morning in the Iris Burn Valley, Kepler Track, Te Anau

Rob says…

“To me this photo captures a great interaction with one of our National Parks and wild places – a beautiful location, well framed, lots of interest, great lighting and mood. Well done”

DOC says…

“The Kepler Track is a a great track for you and your family, especially if you love the outdoors, want an adventure with a bit of a physical challenge that is not too hard to get to and has excellent facilities. The scenery is just spectacular as evidenced by this beautiful photo. Good work Jill.”

So, a big boom to you Jill! You are the winner of the amazing Fiordland adventure.

Rob also chose two other photos that he thought deserved honourable mentions.

Honourable Mentions

Greta File, Napier

A beautiful early morning view from the long drop. A cold winter morning in the Kaweka forest is greeted by the early morning sun melting the frost atop of the Makino Hut.

A beautiful early morning view from the long drop. A cold winter morning in the Kaweka forest is greeted by the early morning sun melting the frost atop of the Makino Hut.

Rob says…

“I think this image has the strongest pure photographic qualities of the selection – It has strong composition, is bravely shot into the light, slightly mystical, and it doesn’t fully reveal its subject, there by allowing the viewer to ponder it.”

DOC Says…

Kaweka Forest is a backcountry park that offers everything from rafting, canoeing, and fishing to hot springs, hunting and tramping. An array of huts are on offer – like Makino Hut which has been gloriously captured by Greta in this shot”

Christel van Krieken, Gisborne

Harakeke in flower, Punakaiki; the gateway to Paparoa National Park.

Harakeke in flower, Punakaiki; the gateway to Paparoa National Park

Rob says…

“I liked the textures and colours with this. If the photographer had have lifted the camera a little the mid ground would have revealed itself more and given a stronger sense of depth, something that’s important when shooting in high sunlight in the middle of the day when less shadow reduces form to an image.”

DOC Says…

“Limestone cliffs and canyons, caves and underground streams, and an absolutely spectacular coastline, are all packed into Paparoa National Park. Paparoa’s luxuriant coastal forest is on display in this image from Christel.”

A corkboard with the other photos, in polaroid format, that made it in to the top ten.

The other photos that made it into the top ten of the photo contest

So, that’s the end of my competition, but that doesn’t mean we should stop enjoying New Zealand’s great parks. So keep taking those photos and share them with me.

Rob Suisted with a South Georgia elephant seal pup.

Rob Suisted with a South Georgia elephant seal pup resting on his legs

A big thanks to Rob for lending us his time and expert eye to help us find our winner. Rob has a passion for the parks and the wild places of New Zealand and was therefore a great choice to judge our contest.

Rob is an internationally respected wilderness and nature photographer. He has published many books and calendars, and his photos have featured on countless magazine covers.

Rob also runs a very successful image library of over 50,000 of his own NZ natural images. You can learn more about his work and view some of his beautiful photos on his site

There once was a limerick contest
Hokitika staff picked out the best
They were displayed on boards
At the Conservation Awards
But one poem was better than the rest

As part of their Conservation Week activities, Inger Perkins and Sue Asplin of the Hokitika Department of Conservation (DOC) team ran ‘The Great Conservation Week Limerick Competition’.

The task was to ‘write a limerick about something you love doing in our great outdoors’. The prize was a helicopter ride for two with Anderson Helicopters, a kiwi crèche experience with a DOC ranger, a daypack, a head torch, Whittakers fair trade chocolate, and an Andris Apse book of scenic photos.

Image of Tyler Bishop, Age 7, the winner of the limerick competition.

Tylar Bishop won the limerick competition

Tylar Bishop, age 7, from Kaniere School won the competition. Here’s his winning limerick:

There was a young kid who liked to go tramping,
As he walked his feet he was stamping.
He kicked all the rocks,
And pulled up his socks,
Then pitched his tent to go camping.

The competition was stiff, with some amazing entries coming forward from local children and adults alike. Below are a few of the good ones. The floor is open for anyone else that wants to have a go, though, sorry, all the chocolate has gone!

Image of a group of children from St Mary's School, Hokitika, reading the limericks of the finalists.

Group of children from St Mary’s School, Hokitika, reading the limericks of the finalists

Limerick contest entries:

There once was a little brown kiwi
Who tried to find his long lost iwi,
When he found the whānau,
They were like “Um, Ah, No!!”
Till they found out his name was Hiwi
Lesha Iraia, Age 12, Karoro School

There once was a fisherman called Ron,
Who was worried the fish were all gone.
Don’t catch too many
Leave some for Lenny
As what will we eat when they’re gone?
Taylor Martyn-Frewin, Age 11, Karoro School

There once was a DOC worker named Ned
Who was a very wise man he said
“Be not overcome with greed
And take only what you need,
Save some for your grandchildren instead”.
Keeley Sexton, Age 11, Karoro School

There once was a botanist called Ambrose
Who would hike up where Edelweiss grows
He saw something new
Then stepped in a poo
His discovery – a Toilet Paper Rose
Megan Norris

Here West of the alps, it is great
With Flora, Fauna, Forests, Glaciers and Lakes,
Whitebait are found,
Marvellous Vistas abound,
Let’s preserve and enjoy our Conservation estate
Jean Adams

I’ve sat back and listened for years
There’s been fighting and protest and tears
If we do what we say
and we say what we do
This planet will last us for years.
Dave Palmer

The Arthur’s Pass kea are such a delight
But feeding these birds is NOT alright!
When they eat the wrong food
They get cheeky and rude
And totally wreck anything that’s in sight!
Sue Asplin

Image of DOC area manager, Ian McClure, selecting finalists - and laughing.

DOC area manager, Ian McClure, selecting finalists – and laughing