Zoo hosts conservation week event at Waiwhakareke

calendar iconPosted 17 September 2019

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This week is the 50th anniversary of Conservation Week and to mark the occasion the Hamilton Zoo education team is hosting a special event for school students at neighbouring Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park on Thursday.

Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park is a large-scale restoration project which covers about 60ha on the northwest edge of Hamilton adjacent to Hamilton Zoo. New Zealand’s largest inland restoration project, the aim is to recreate an example of the Hamilton Basin’s previously rich ecological diversity. 

Conservation Week (14-22 September) is an annual Department of Conservation event. The theme this year is ‘Nature Needs Us’ and with 4,000 of our native animals and plants threatened or at risk this is a great opportunity to bring everyone together to do something, big or small to create change.

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Hamilton Zoo Team Leader of Education, Ken Millwood says Waiwhakareke is a fantastic resource for teaching students how they can contribute to the protection of our ecosystem.

“Students joining us for schools’ day have the chance to venture into the park and see the fantastic restoration work going on at Waiwhakareke first hand,” says Mr Millwood.

Almost 350 students from 14 Waikato schools have signed up to take part in the event, which starts at 10am. They will spend the day visiting stations set up across Waiwhakareke featuring organisations covering a variety of topics from identifying native plants to the role of conservation dogs.

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“Schools Day brings conservation week to life for students,” says Mr Millwood.

“They learn how small actions can make a big difference towards encouraging change, while experiencing the amazing setting of Waiwhakareke at the same time.”

Schools Day speakers include:

  • Jane Wheeler (Department of Conservation) – Conservation Dogs
  • Jessica Meade (Maungatautari Trust) – Detect – Decide – Do!
  • Gerard Kelly (Hamilton City Council) – Native Plant Identification
  • Hamilton Zoo birds and ectotherms team – Native Reptiles
  • Camilla Carty-Melis (GoEco) – Wonderful Worms and Brilliant Bugs
  • Kerry Jones (Waikato Botanical Society) – Trees of Waiwhakareke
  • Hamilton Zoo birds and ectotherms team – Enrichment
  • Self-directed (Waiwhakareke) – Barn Adventure
  • Tracey Burton (NIWA) – Protecting our Lakes
  • Toni Cornes (Waikato University) – How Plants Help Build a Forest
  • Jesse Golden (Hamilton Zoo) – Bird Monitoring
  • Adrienne Grant & Alex Daniel (Enviroschools) – Design in Nature
  • Poppy Barran (Resource Recovery) – Recycling
  • Mike Cummins (Plant and Food) – Soil and Water Filtration