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Beyond Awesome Conservation Camp

Young people from the Hurunui have just returned from a free, hands on conservation camp. There they learnt about the restoration of a 100 hectare Department of Conservation block – in preparation for exciting things to come…

The trip away was the first instalment in a series of conservation exercises from what has been called ‘The Hurunui Youth Kaitiakitanga Project’. Kaitiakitanga as in guardianship of the land and preservation.

Eight inspiring young people from the Hurunui embarked on the two day adventure, based at Porters Pass Ski Lodge. Conservation activities on the camp were led by Sean Ellis, who is the volunteer custodian of the trapping area on the block. The activity line-up featured everything from checking trap lines and bush bashing, to yoga between mountains.

List of camp activities:

• Tramp into conservation site
- Action
• Trail clearing, trap line checking and baiting + waterfall climbing
- Workshop
• Native tree and bird ID
+ Observing species re-emergence
- Workshop
• Possum and weasel skinning
- Workshop
• Conservation movie & games
– Entertainment
• How to start a pest trapping program from scratch
- Discussion
• Applying for Department of Conservation funding
- Discussion
• The pest food chain - Discussion
• Morning mountain yoga
– Exercise
• Caving adventure at Cave Stream
– Action

Ruth Buckland, Year Nine student at Hurunui College and member of the Hurunui Youth Program Committee, said she conquered fears in harsh environments and had a fantastic time at the camp. “I had so much fun and relaxation out in nature. I was also able get over my fear while we were caving” she said.

Other young people that attended the camp have said things like “I learnt I can skin a possum without stuffing it up” and “I loved observing a falcon, learning about its hunting patterns and learning how all the birds communicate when one is close by”.

A parent of one young person on the course told our youth team that she was very thankful for the opportunity for her son. “He absolutely loved it” she said. “He has come away with the realisation that, as he loves being outdoors, working in the conservation space could be a career path for him”.

Krystal Jennings, Hurunui Youth Council Coordinator, said “team work, enthusiasm and love of the great outdoors was what this project is all about”.

“The camp idea came from feedback received while developing the Hurunui youth strategy last year” she said. “Feedback from our young people said that they want more opportunities to connect with and learn about their natural environment”.

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