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On Saturday 22 May, young Aucklanders will join thousands of people around the world in the 'Green Wave', a day of action marking the International Day of Biodiversity.

Date:  20 May 2010 Source:  Department of Conservation and Auckland Museum

Wellington event
National event
Words on a Wing event details

On Saturday, young Aucklanders will join thousands of people around the world in the Green Wave, a day of action marking the International Day of Biodiversity.

The Green Wave is a global campaign to educate children and youth about biodiversity. On Saturday, the Department of Conservation, Auckland Museum and local musician Kirsten Morrell (Goldenhorse) will launch an environmental action to give young people a voice on the importance of reversing the unprecedented decline and loss of species and habitats around the world.

Called Words on a Wing, the action features two giant steel and mesh kakapo and 20,000 cardboard feathers. Students all around the country will have the opportunity to write messages on the feathers which will be used to cover the kakapo.

The final feathers will be written and attached during Conservation Week. The messages will then be gathered up and taken to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 10th Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting in Japan in October.

“This is a chance for young people to tell world leaders why they think biodiversity matters so much, what they want them to do about it and what they’re going to do themselves,” says Nicola Holmes, DOC’s Conservation Engagement Group general manager.

“There is growing evidence that young people are becoming more and more disconnected to nature, and that’s an immense challenge.”

This week the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) released the results of an Airbus survey exploring children’s perceptions of nature. More than 10,000 children and young people aged between 5 – 18 from 10 countries worldwide were surveyed as part of the aircraft manufacturer’s support of the CBD.

When asked to rank what was most important to them, 10 times more children picked watching TV or playing computer games first compared to those who chose saving the environment (40 percent and four percent respectively). And while species extinction rates are estimated to be up to 1000 times the natural rate, only nine percent ranked looking after animals as most important; 15 percent did not know what “endangered species” meant.

Executive Secretary of the CBD Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf says “the survey confirms the alarming disconnect of our children with nature and calls for urgent action to close this growing gap between tomorrow’s citizens and their natural heritage. This is what the Green Wave is all about.”

“New Zealand organisations like the Auckland Museum and the Department of Conservation have a critical role to play to ensure our children stay connected with nature and all of its diversity” says Auckland Museum research manager Tom Trnski.

“International Day of Biodiversity is a day to celebrate what we’ve already achieved for the protection of biodiversity, and to think about what else we can do to turn the tide of species extinctions.”

Wellington event

To launch Words on a Wing in Wellington, DOC, the Wellington Zoo, WWF-New Zealand and Forest & Bird are hosting a family event at the Wellington Zoo from 12.00 to 1.00 (admission to the zoo will be half price between 11.00 and 12.00 so people can come along to the event and then stay and visit the zoo). The event will feature members of the drumming troupe Nimba, face painting by BodyFX, and the Improvisors.

National event

A national photo competition is also being launched on International Day of Biodiversity. Co-sponsored by the Department of Conservation, UNESCO, NIWA and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, the competition encourages both young and adult photographers to submit photos of New Zealand’s biodiversity for a variety of prizes.

Words on a Wing event details


Where: Atrium entrance, Auckland Museum
Date: Saturday May 22
When: 2.30pm

For more information please contact:

Linda Bercusson
cellphone: 027 276 9663


Where: Wellington Zoo
Date: Saturday May 22
When: 12 – 1pm

For more information please contact:

Shelly Biswell
International Year of Biodiversity Co-ordinator
Department of Conservation
cellphone: 021 985 843

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