Young ex­plor­ers get a taste for na­ture

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENVIRONMENT - RACHEL KEED­WELL, KIWI CON­SER­VA­TION CLUB

Sum­mer, per­fect for the great out­doors, and a great time to be part of the Kiwi Con­ser­va­tion Club (KCC). KCC, the kids’ branch of For­est & Bird, is all about get­ting kids into na­ture and learn­ing about the nat­u­ral world around them.

The Manawatu KCC branch pro­motes plenty of fun ac­tiv­i­ties. Its monthly events, which take place af­ter school, on week­ends or in the school hol­i­days, give chil­dren and their fam­i­lies the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore wild na­ture and wild places to­gether.

At the end of the sum­mer hol­i­days, eight fam­i­lies came on a trip to the Whitecliff Boul­ders on the Ran­gi­tikei River near Man­gaweka. Sim­i­lar to the more fa­mous Mo­er­aki Boul­ders in the South Is­land, th­ese ge­o­log­i­cally rare round mud­stone boul­ders, known as cannon ball con­cre­tions, are tucked into a bush rem­nant right on the river’s banks. The kids had a great time find­ing the hid­den boul­ders and mar­vel­ling over their size, be­fore en­joy­ing a pic­nic and a re­fresh­ing dip in the river.

Up­com­ing KCC sum­mer events in­clude a tramp in the Tararua Ranges to Roar­ing Stag Hut – a great way to safely ex­pe­ri­ence tramp­ing as a fam­ily event, and as an in­tro­duc­tion to the world­wide game of geo­caching. Geo­caching is sim­i­lar to an out­door trea­sure hunt us­ing a GPS or smart­phone de­vice.

Ac­tiv­i­ties change with the sea­sons. In May for in­stance, there’s a fun­gus hunt with a lo­cal fun­gus ex­pert, as well as a Fri­day 13 themed mar­ket and movie night where kids can trade cre­ations be­fore set­tling down to watch a movie about the world’s scari­est bugs. Our mid-win­ter event is a stay at the For­est & Bird lodge on Mt Ruapehu.

To know more about the KCC, come and meet us this Sun­day Fe­bru­ary 21 dur­ing Es­planade Day. We will be in the Education Cen­tre (op­po­site the duck pond) with an in­ter­ac­tive dis­play about the wildlife that can be found in our own back yard. There will be real live we­tas and lizards for your kids to meet, loads of crea­tures to ex­am­ine un­der mi­cro­scopes, plus lots of games and puz­zles.

PHOTO: RACHEL KEED­WELL

Try­ing hard to rock ‘n roll, Kiwi Con­ser­va­tion Club mem­ber Zach Brown does his best to dis­lodge one of the spher­i­cal Whitecliff Boul­ders found on the banks of the Ran­gi­tikei River near Man­gaweka.

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