Date: 25 September 2019
This year for Conservation Week, DOC offices asked what kids of the West Coast want to see for the future of conservation. The competition was open to school aged kids on the West Coast to share a memorable experience they had in New Zealand nature and what they would do in the next 12 months to help New Zealand nature.
Michelle Lambert, Community Ranger for the Hokitika district says, “There were lots of awesome stories about experiences in nature. Plus heaps of innovative conservation ideas such as training dogs to pick up rubbish in the ocean, making sure birds such as kea are not fed human food, and keeping dogs on leads at the beach to avoid birds getting scared off nests or injured.
"This made it hard for our judges, well known Hokitika creatives Lindy Roberts and Sue Asplin, to pick prize winners.”
Top prizes were awarded to Charlee Rose and Myia Cain in the 5 – 8 years old category for a “Save the Earth” boardgame, which explained the do’s and don’ts of looking after the environment. They won Whio Forever books, pounamu donated by Ngāti Waewae and a Conservation Dog visit to their school classroom.
Aaliyah Davidson, in the 9 – 12 years old category, took out the top prize for her story about a journey of discovery following birds in the forest. Aaliyah received prizes from Whio Forever, pounamu donated by Ngāti Waewae and a ‘Ranger for a Day’ experience where she will get to release a whio/blue duck into the wild.
Poppy Johnston-Coates won the top prize for the 13 – 18 years old category. Poppy won a family pass to the new Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s 10th Great Walk, and pounamu donated by Ngāti Waewae. The judges commented Poppy’s entry was an outstanding story that showed her enthusiasm for cleaning up her local beach and helping to rehabilitate injured wildlife. Other entries in various categories won sustainable items such as beeswax wraps donated by Hokitika New World.
Michelle says, “The West Coast 'Share Your Nature Story' competition highlights the future of conservation on the West Coast is bright. We need new and different ideas to protect our environment for future generations. Thanks to all our sponsors and community groups who’ve worked hard for conservation over the past year and to the children who shared their stories and ideas in the competition.”
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