A programme to get Kiwi kids out into nature has just got more exciting, with Travis Wetland the latest destination to be added to the Kiwi Guardians programme.
This week is Conservation Week.
The Toyota Kiwi Guardians programme(external link), championed by the Department of Conservation, aims to get city families out into nature by encouraging kids to find hidden codes at parks and nature reserves around the city.
The codes can then be entered into a website and the children receive a Kiwi Guardian medal for each code found.
DOC’s Christchurch Ranger Annabelle Studholme said a new Kiwi Guardian site had been placed at Travis Wetland last month, an exciting new addition to go alongside five other sites launched around Christchurch earlier this year.
“Research has demonstrated that children can establish lifelong connections to nature if they actively engage with it between the ages of 6-10.
“The idea allows young people to have ownership over our conservation land—to feel part of it and want to care for it into the future. It’s also about getting outside and having lots of fun!”
DOC had established five other Kiwi Guardians sites around Christchurch including at Godley Head, the Little River Trail, Ōtamahua Quail Island, Riccarton Bush and the Rod Donald Hut near Port Levy Saddle.
Families could download maps before visiting the area and while enjoying an outing in nature, hunt for hidden codes to earn medals.
“The Kiwi Guardians programme has been developed by DOC in partnership with Toyota and local land owners and managers. It highlights family-friendly activities at specific sites that support kids to engage their senses, take risks and, ultimately, earn themselves a medal in the outdoors. The goal is to turn our kiwi kids into guardians of the land and sea.”
Christchurch City Council Regional Parks Manager Kay Holder said the Kiwi Guardians programme was a great excuse to get out of the house and into nature as the weather begins to warm up.
“We know kids benefit in so many ways from interacting with nature, and we’re delighted to see another site added to the Kiwi Guardians programme in Christchurch. Travis Wetland has always been a favourite with the kids, especially the bird hideout where you can watch nature at play. We hope the Kiwi Guardians programme will motivate more to come out and discover how fabulous it is for themselves, and then maybe be motivated to help care for it.”
There are currently 20 Kiwi Guardian sites across New Zealand, providing opportunities to residents in Auckland, Napier, Palmerston North, New Plymouth, Christchurch and Dunedin, and an estimated 50 more sites will be operational by the end of 2016.