Date: 10 September 2019
Locals, visitors, businesses, schools, established and emerging conservationists are called to action this month to celebrate 50 years of Conservation Week. We're asking our community to help nature out by engaging with activities and ideas to get involved in Conservation Week, which runs from 14–22 September.
Department of Conservation Wakatipu Operations Manager Geoff Owen is encouraging the community to join in on some of the activities taking place around the region.
There are native planting days taking place throughout the month, starting with DOC on 14 September with a Project Gold planting at Lake Hayes and continuing with the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust through to 12 October, says Geoff.
"To learn more about the role of tourism in conservation, come along to a panel discussion being hosted by Ziptrek on Monday 16 September.
Be inspired at the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust 'Fools and Dreamers' movie night on 17 September or the Predator Free trapping workshop at the Kiwi Birdlife Park on 19 September. You can do so much in your own backyard!
Finish the week with a social and inspirational night at the DOC Conservation Celebration at the Sherwood on Saturday 21 September. Join us for conservation focussed pechakucha talks followed by drinks and nibbles.
We're especially keen to thank all our existing volunteers, and engage with youth and emerging conservationists; those who will shape how we care for our land during the next 50 years."
Looking back on 50 years of conservation there Geoff says there are plenty of local initiatives worth celebrating.
"Tracks like the Routeburn have been getting people into nature since the 1880s and thanks to DOC, with the support of Air New Zealand and the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust, are now part of a network of 1300 traps protecting our whio/blue duck and tuke/rock wren.
Adding to this are the Wakatipu Wildlife Life Trust. Formed just 2 years ago the Trust are an umbrella organisation for over 17 groups, who are at the heart of our conservation community.
We can't underestimate the contribution of local heroes such as Neill and Barb Simpson who formed the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust in 2013 and with an incredible team put nearly 8,000 plants in the ground every year. Or the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group who have invested 10 years in protecting our biodiversity.
It's also worth reflecting all the other groups and individuals who do so much, and those who are no longer with us but have paved the way over the past 50 years. Barry Lawrence was an instrumental part of Wakatipu conservation - think of him as you walk the Lake Hayes Track and see the kowhai trees which after seven years of Project Gold are starting to flower."
Conservation Week was originally launched in 1969 by the New Zealand Scout Association, with the goal to promote greater interest in the environment and encourage people to take practical actions to look after it.
Conservation Week runs from 14–22 September. With the theme "Nature needs us". DOC is encouraging people to get involved in conservation-related activities during the week.