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Conservation Week call to action for nature

Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa/Conservation Week call to action for nature

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is calling on kiwis to get involved in Conservation Week or Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa.

Eugenie Sage today joined the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Auckland Council to celebrate environmental heroes, including more than 400 community conservation groups, at Auckland’s Pestival.

The event, the second hosted by Auckland Council with support from DOC and the Predator Free New Zealand Trust, is one of several being run as part of Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa or Conservation Week which starts today under the theme Conservation Week is Calling or Karanga Mai, Karanga Atu, Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa.

“This week is a great opportunity to highlight how much indigenous nature needs our help, with around 4,000 native species threatened or at risk of extinction,” Eugenie Sage said.

“I hope Conservation Week or Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa activities will encourage more people to join the thousands of New Zealanders already contributing to conservation.

“Rats, stoats and possums are the greatest threat to our native species. In our cities, towns and regions, people can help to protect native plants and wildlife by setting traps on their properties, getting involved in a community conservation group’ controlling invasive weeds such as Old Man’s Beard or regenerating habitats such as wetlands through restoration plantings.

“Thank you everyone who is helping create safe space for our indigenous plants and wildlife. We all want to see our native species and their natural habitats thriving again.”

At the first Pestival last year, Pest Free Auckland 2050 was announced.

“Encouragingly, since then there has been an upsurge in people joining or starting community pest control groups in Auckland. A collective effort by community groups, mana whenua, landowners, schools, businesses, councils, DOC and others can achieve a healthy environment and bring more birdsong back to Auckland’s backyards and forests.”

Social enterprise Squawk Squad is also taking conservation to hundreds of classrooms with an interactive online digital conservation experience that includes students getting involved in conservation-related activities.

It was held for the first time during Conservation Week last year with 40,000 school children across 800 schools engaged. This year Squawk Squad has teamed up with DOC to provide virtual reality headsets that give students a lifelike vision of native birds in action.

“It’s an effective way of enabling large numbers of students to learn more about indigenous nature and how to help care for it,” says Eugenie Sage.

For information about Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa/Conservation Week events visit: conservationweek.org.nz
Find out more about Squawk Squad at squawksquad.co.nz

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