Ju­nior Rangers thrive on course

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENVIRONMENT - HE­LEN TICK­NER

Ev­ery school hol­i­days the pop­u­lar Ju­nior Rangers pro­gramme at Pukaha Mount Bruce en­gages pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate schoolage chil­dren with con­ser­va­tion ac­tiv­i­ties and bush-based ex­pe­ri­ences.

Each weekday dur­ing the hol­i­days be­tween 11am and 3.15pm, chil­dren aged 6 to 12 years old are welcome to take part in a be­hind-the scenes-ex­pe­ri­ence at Pukaha. Here they safely learn about car­ing for New Zealand’s na­tive birds and an­i­mals.

The ses­sions in­tro­duce the young­sters to Pukaha’s cap­tive breed­ing pro­grammes where na­tive birds are bred for re­lease on-site for rein­tro­duc­tion into the wild. They learn how such pro­grammes have helped to save some of the rarest species such as the takahe, shore plover and kakapo from ex­tinc­tion.

The pro­gramme has been an un­qual­i­fied suc­cess. In 2013, Pukaha was run­ning the Ju­nior Ranger ses­sions three days a week dur­ing the school hol­i­days but staff found that they couldn’t keep up with de­mand, so it was in­creased to five days a week.

There is still great de­mand, with some kids com­ing two or three times dur­ing the hol­i­days. The young­sters love be­ing out­side, re­gard­less of the weather, and re­ally feel like they are mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion to con­ser­va­tion.

Pukaha is a great fan of the Ju­nior Ranger pro­gramme, and it is al­ways grat­i­fy­ing to welcome these keen young con­ser­va­tion­ists.

Tak­ing part in the Ju­nior Ranger pro­gramme costs $25 per child which in­cludes lunch. All that chil­dren need to bring is a warm jacket and a sense of ad­ven­ture.

Book­ings can be made at info@pukaha.org.nz or call 06 375 8004, www.pukaha.org.nz

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