On Sunday 1 March, the biggest ever Play Date with Nature will take place in Te Anau’s Ivon Wilson Park.
To celebrate national Children's Day, Kids Restore the Kepler, Fiordland Kindergarten, Southern Stars, Plunket, the Department of Conservation and Southland District Council have teamed up once again to bring families a fun day out, and encourage children to enjoy quality time in the outdoors.
The day will be full of activities to enjoy. Families can ride on a flying fox, climb on an adventure ropes course, make art and music with natural objects, cook damper over a fire, listen to a story, care for the trees in the park, or make bird feeders for feathered friends. All of this, and more, will be on offer during the day.
Local parent, Adrian Braaksma, is running one of the activities on the day and values the opportunity to get children immersed in their natural environment:
"It’s great to get kids out into nature. They have lots of fun and it’s free entertainment for the whole family."
Having a fun day out in Ivon Wilson Park at the play date with nature
Connecting children with nature in their everyday lives is one of the main goals of the major restoration project Kids Restore the Kepler. This community-driven initiative, managed by the Fiordland Conservation Trust, aims to remove introduced predators from the Kepler project area, and ultimately return native birdlife to the area.
Alessandra Menegatti, Kids Restore the Kepler Education Coordinator, said that the event gives children the opportunity to open their imagination to the wonders of nature:
"Children can see an ocean in a puddle: a rock is an island and a twisted stick is a sea snake…but they also have the natural ability to see things for what they are," she said.
"We must nurture these skills, for children to understand how everything fits together. This is at the heart of Kids Restore the Kepler and that’s what Children’s Day in Te Anau is all about."
Play Date with Nature will take place in Te Anau's Ivon Wilson Park, between 11 am and 3 pm. The event will take place regardless of most weather conditions, so participants are advised to dress appropriately.
Everybody is welcome but the organisers ask that four-legged friends are left at home. Sausages will be sizzled for lunch by Plunket.
- Children's Day is celebrated each year on the first Sunday of March. Its aim is to encourage everyone to 'Treasure our Children'.
- Kids Restore the Kepler is managed by the Fiordland Conservation Trust. The project's principal sponsor is Kids Restore New Zealand, a programme under the Air New Zealand Environment Trust that encourages leadership and environmental education in young people.
- The Department of Conservation is working towards the goal of having 'one million conservation kids' in New Zealand.