Penguins, waterfalls and myrtles

Daniel Bai and Mia Lunson with a kauri on the Tuahu Track. Photo: DOC Tauranga Crave Photography.

Nature needs us, and now is the time for Bay of Plenty to take action, says local DOC Community Ranger Nataalia Lunson.

For anyone wanting to explore the best of ‘Mother Nature’ around the Bay, there’s an impressive array of unique events coming up this week.

“Conservation Week activities make it easy for the public to learn about what’s in their backyard,” says Nataalia, “and every learning level is catered for”.

It’s 50 years since Conservation Week began, and now more than ever, nature is needing us. The Bay of Plenty is leading the way for Conservation Week 2019, with 26 events registered for people of all ages to dive into.

There’s guided walks at lakes and waterfalls, in forests and around an extinct volcano with Bay Conservation Alliance, Western Bay Wildlife Trust, DOC and Te Puke Forest and Bird. Some of the walks are in the evening, with the strong possibility of seeing little blue penguins along the way.

For those who want to meet the dogs that sniff out rats and other animal pests, Conservation Dogs Sassy and Maia will be visiting classrooms at Tauranga Intermediate and Pillans Point School.

“We can’t take our beautiful beaches and forests for granted. Our little blue penguins, petrels, kokako, kiwi, bittern, kauri and even the New Zealand myrtle tree, the pohutakawa are just a few local species that need our help,” says Nataalia.

Toi Ohomai is running a sustainable market to raise awareness of sustainable materials and decreasing waste, and Predator BOP has a movie night at the Arts Junction in Katikati.

There is even a chance for teachers to see what resources are available to help them deliver conservation in the classroom.

For the more ‘hands-on’ folk, come along and help improve walking tracks, plant native trees, learn to survey bitterns and identify myrtle, enter a photography competition and build sandcastles at Envirohub’s Sustainable Blue Backyard. There are also plenty of awesome prizes to be won.

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 September 14-22. To find an event near you check out: www.doc.govt.nz/news/events/conservation-week/events