Fantastic Field Trips for the Symposium!

Motukiekie rocks by Darren J BennettThere are three field trips on offer on Friday 15th June as part of the Community Conservation Symposium, with a choice of morning trips to Cobden (restoration project and trapping workshop) or to Moonlight (kiwi crèche) and, in the afternoon, up the Coast Road to discover a variety of community conservation projects.

The full programme for the conference on Thursday 14th June and field trips on 15th June plus booking is available here.

Cobden Aromahana Sanctuary and Recreation Project (CASRA)

Field Trip #2 will be in three parts, the first two visiting the Cobden wetlands and lagoon with Henk Stengs and Rob Harrison of CASRA, and then, following a quick morning tea, a trapping workshop at the Kahuna Boardriders Club led by Darrell Haworth and Zac Coffin from DOC in Greymouth.

John Paul II High School, Cobden Lagoon 2016 planting day

John Paul II High School, Cobden Lagoon 2016 planting day

If you haven’t been to Cobden recently, you’ll be in for a very pleasant surprise!  

The CASRA project, with fantastic support from DOC and Grey District Council, has focussed on an array of ecological restoration and rehabilitation projects, creating and restoring whitebait habitat in the wetlands and improving the lagoon area for wildlife with planting and predator control.  With volunteer days and help from Conservation Volunteers NZ, they have brought about an incredible transformation in the past few years.  And the new boardwalks, car park and other facilities installed by GDC are making this a very attractive area for locals and visitors alike.  You can read more about the project here.

If you’re keen to do this or the kiwi crèche morning field trip and then join the afternoon field trip, there will be time for both!  

Click here to book now

Bois Gentil Kiwi Crèche, Moonlight (Paparoa Wildlife Trust)

Field Trip #2 will be led by Jo Halley (pictured) of the Paparoa Wildlife Trust.  The Bois Gentil Crèche, opened in 2010, is on 12 hectares of predator-free fenced land near Moonlight in the Grey Valley.  Endangered juvenile great spotted kiwis can grow to a safe weight of at least 1200g for release to the wild.

Jo Halley at the kiwi creche

Jo Halley at the kiwi creche

Nesting adults are tracked in the South Paparoa Range by the Trust team and eggs retrieved for incubation and hatching at a dedicated facility at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, run by the New Zealand Conservation Trust.  The chicks are brought to the crèche at around one to two months old and supplementary food is provided where needed.  They are weighed, measured and checked for health regularly until they can be released.

Jo is Manager and Ranger of the Paparoa Wildlife Trust Kiwi Project and will explain the whole process and, we hope, introduce you to one of the resident kiwi chicks, weather permitting.

The Trust has a video of one of the kiwi chicks waking up and stretching before setting out for a feed: http://www.bgcreche.co.nz/videofootage/

Click here to book now

Coast Road – penguins, kiwis, petrels and predator control

Field Trip #3 leaves Greymouth at 1pm to discover a range of conservation projects and enjoy the wonderful coast views over the course of the afternoon and early evening. 

We’ll stop at Motukiekie, about 17km north of Greymouth, to hear about The Motukiekie Shakedown, from Leon Dalziel.  Leon is a Trustee for the penguin trust and, in a separate project, has been gradually increasing predator control in this stunning part of the coast.

From there, we’ll head up to Seal Island north of Punakaiki, and find out about the penguin protection fence as well as the values of Seal Island, being protected by a WCPT trapping project to keep the island rat and stoat free. 

Seal island penguin protection fence and public access gate July 2015 r

Seal island penguin protection fence and public access gate July 2015

We’ll stop off at Pancake Rocks Cafe for afternoon tea, kindly provided for us by the cafe, and we’ll learn about Predator Free Punakaiki from one of the team there.  They are investing in the latest technology in their trapping projects, including narrow band communication and text messaging to phones when traps are activated. 

Next, a short hop down the road takes us to the Conservation Volunteers NZ base at the old Rio Tinto mine site to learn about the long standing restoration project, growing and planting native plants under the Westland petrel flight path.  We’ll hear about a range of projects that their volunteers have been involved in over the years.

The final element of the afternoon will be watching the Westland petrels come in at dusk, always a memorable experience, before heading back to Greymouth.

We’re hugely grateful to all those supporting the field trips, including:

And of course a huge thank you to our event sponsors, Lotteries, DOC and The Sargood Bequest.

Click here to book now

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