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School Group First to Explore Restricted Forest

29th May 2015

School Group First to Explore Restricted Forest

Wellington, NZ – Earlier this week 170 lucky students at Wainuiomata Primary School were lucky enough to be the first-ever school group to visit the restricted Wainuiomata Water Collection Area. The area, generally closed to the public, is host to some of the most significant lowland podocarp forest in the lower North Island, as well as an array of native wildlife.

The trip was run as part of ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary’s Outreach Program, designed to teach kiwi kids about conservation and native wildlife. While ZEALANDIA Rangers regularly visit local schools, this was the first time it had been applied in an external environment.

“The kids were full of energy and really enthusiastic,” said ZEALANDIA Education Ranger Darren Van Hoof. “It was great to give them the opportunity to experience such pristine forest right in their backyards, and in an area not many people get the chance to see.”

As well as exploring the native bush, the students installed and checked tracking tunnels, and learned how to judge water quality by the presence of different invertebrates. They were also lucky enough to spot ruru (morepork), tomtits, kererū, fantails, and even an endemic New Zealand falcon.

The Outreach Program is funded by World Wildlife NZ, while this particular trip also required support from Department of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and Hutt City Council.

“It’s also really exciting to see where we can take this next,” said Van Hoof. “With so many great organisations on board, we are able to take this idea and apply it to different sites around the country, giving kids all over New Zealand the chance to develop a relationship with the native ecosystems in their area.”


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