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Help make a difference in Conservation Week

September 9th, 2016
[DOC press release]

New Zealanders can help improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing by getting out and helping to look after our natural spaces, says the Department of Conservation.

The theme of this year's Conservation Week (September 10th - 18th) is Healthy Nature Healthy People, and encouraging people to think about how they could join the team to make a difference to their local natural environment.

DOC's Conservation Week spokesperson Dawn Muir says research shows that exposure to nature helps reduce stress and helps people recharge.

"Studies also show that children who spend time outdoors demonstrate more creative and imaginative play, are generally healthier and have a greater respect for themselves and appreciate the environment more.

"Getting out and taking part in a local conservation activity has a double benefit. As well as helping improve our natural environment it's also helping our personal health and sense of wellbeing," she says.

There are activities and events happening around the country that anyone can get involved in. Key local events include:

Sunday 18 September, 10am to 2pm: Tinline Trail
Hosted by DOC, Project Janszoon and Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, with support from Bowater Toyota.

A family walk of discovery along the Abel Tasman Coast Track from Marahau to Tinline campsite. Along the way there will be interesting activities to take part in, and a simple quiz to go in the draw for a super prize.

Children aged 6-10 can take part in the activities to earn a Toyota Kiwi Guardians Explorer medal. Enjoy fun activities, learn about nature, and find out where you can take the family for easy adventures.

Families are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at Tinline, and plenty of water. An adult would walk the distance in 30 minutes, but young children would take 45 - 50 minutes. The track is suitable for strollers, but bikes are not permitted. Wet weather day is Sunday 25 September.

Contact: Kath Inwood, ph 03 546 3151, email: kainwood@doc.govt.nz

Sunday 11 September 2016 9:00am - 4:00pm: Planting at Pearl Creek
Hosted by Forest and Bird

At the end of Cotterell Rd, off Appleby Highway. To celebrate Conservation Week and to take part in the Great Kereru Count 16 - 25 September kowhai and other food trees will be planted to attract Kereru at Pearl Creek.

Wear good footwear and bring your favourite spade if you have one, though spades are provided. Find out which plants attract birds. Get help in identifying plants and birds that might be around.

Contact: Jo, ph 544 9666 or 021 116 9877, email: robjokay@xtra.co.nz

The DOC website also has plenty of other ideas and activities for anyone who wants to join the team and get involved. These include:

  -  Taking on the National Geocaching Challenge, a real-world outdoor treasure hunt using GPS. Enter in the online competition.
  -  Have a go at colouring in a Whio and enter the competition.
  -  Try your hand at the "Whio boot camp" online game.
  -  Explore a local natural environment and think about how you can make a difference - enter the Habitat Heroes competition.

"Disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is easier than many people think. Unwinding with the kids in our natural spaces is the perfect prescription for a healthier, happier life," Dawn Muir says.

"The earlier on we can get children to be aware of the benefits of conservation, the more they're going to value it. This will help us collectively build a better New Zealand."



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