Young people from 15 to 24 are in with a chance to win international travel by entering the World Wetlands Day youth photo competition.
The Department of Conservation is encouraging young people to take a picture of their favourite wetland on their phone or camera, and upload it to the World Wetlands Day website between 2 February and 2 March 2015. The winner will receive a free flight to a famous wetland of their choice anywhere in the world, courtesy of Star Alliance Biosphere Connections.
World Wetlands Day on 2 February marks the adoption of the International Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
The theme for World Wetlands Day 2015 is "Wetlands for our future; Te tirohanga ā mua mō ngā māria".
DOC Conservation Services Ranger Daniel Jack says "Wetlands play an essential role in our environment including filtering and cleansing water, providing critical habitat for many plants and animals and acting as a natural shield to protect our landscape through absorbing water runoff and providing a controlled release of water to lakes, rivers and our coast. They are biodiversity hotspots and provide many recreational opportunities."
"Wetlands can be broadly defined as areas where the presence of water is the primary factor controlling the environment and associated plant and animal life. There are a number of accessible places frequented by people that are classified as wetlands including, lakes, large reservoirs and estuaries."
Some of the most significant and stunning wetlands in the region are found at:
Lake Waihola -Waipori wetlands and Sinclair Wetlands
Approximately 33 km south of Dunedin, Lake Waihola, Lake Waipori and Sinclair Wetlands make up the most significant area of wetland habitat in Otago. The area is nationally and internationally recognised as a precious refuge for many threatened and endangered species of plant, fish and birds.
Taieri River Scroll Plain
Taieri River Scroll Plain is a large wetland in the Maniototo and Styx Basins. Ox-bow lakes and depressions that hold water for varying periods of time are created by changes in the course of the meandering upper reaches of the Taieri River during flooding. This is the only example of this wetland type in New Zealand.
Lake Tuakitoto is a large lowland lake and adjoining swamp, near the coast north of the Clutha River and Mata-Au Mouth. Fed from the inflow of Lovells Creek at the northern end of the wetland, Lake Tuakitoto hosts a diverse mosaic of vegetation types and wildlife habitats and is the best remaining example of a previously widespread wetland type.
Te Papanui Conservation Area
Te Papanui situated on the Lammerlaw and Lammermoor Ranges, west of Dunedin boasts outstanding landscape qualities. Broad peaty basins with parallel streams dissect the slopes in a rhythmical pattern and the expanses of tussock grassland, relieved intermittently by bogs and tarns, give a strong sense of remoteness.
Further information is available on the World Wetlands Day website.