Introduction

People of all ages are being encouraged to head to conservation areas this Conservation Week and enjoy the health benefits as a result. Conservation Week runs from 1 – 8 November.

Research suggests that regularly taking part in outdoor activities leads to improved physical and mental health. Exposure to nature also helps reduce stress and helps people recharge.

There are many activities and events happening around the region that Northlanders can get involved in. DOC and Experiencing Marine Reserves are running a snorkel day at the Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve and there is a family fun day at Baylys Beach being organised by the Baylys Beach Society in collaboration with Nga Ripo, Circus Kumarani, NRC, WDC and DOC. Puketotara Landcare are organising a road rubbish cleanup in the Kerikeri area.

For the more adventurous the National Geocaching Challenge is a national treasure hunt with loads of great prizes to be won, and on Friday 6 November local DOC rangers will be attempting to start a 'Stick Mo' meme by encouraging people post a Stick Mo selfie.

One of the key events of Conservation Week this year is the establishment of the Kororipo Heritage Park located within the Kerikeri Basin.

Pewhairangi/Bay of Islands Services Manager, Rolien Elliot, says Conservation Week is good chance for New Zealanders to celebrate New Zealand and the conservation gains made over the past year. The development of the Kororipo Heitage Park is a special milestone.

"The development of the Kororipo Heritage Park has been a joint effort between Heritage New Zealand, Ngati Rehia, Far North District Council, tourism reps and DOC. The first step was the construction of the heritage bypass to mitigate flooding. Step two was upgrading the visitor facilities (footbridge, toilets, carparks), followed by the ongoing development of the Kororipo Heritage Park" said Pewhairangi/Bay of Islands Services Manger, Rolien Elliot.

"Stunning signage leads you on a journey around the park. It has been a wonderful project to be involved with and by working together we have created an experience that we hope visitors and locals will enjoy."

There are plans to develop the site further, with an archaeological dig planned for 2016 and more interpretation. This year Kerikeri Basin was voted DOC's top site in Northland, followed by Waipoua Forest and Cape Reinga.

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