Keen Kiwi kids crazy on con­ser­va­tion

The Tribune (NZ) - - OUT & ABOUT - SARAH GALLEY

Our chil­dren are the next gen­er­a­tion of na­ture con­servers, and mem­bers of the Kiwi Con­ser­va­tion Club (KCC) are ready and rar­ing to go.

KCC, the ju­nior sec­tion of For­est & Bird, is for chil­dren from 3 to 13 years old.

The club aims to fos­ter cu­rios­ity, dis­cov­ery and ex­plo­ration by mix­ing fun with a dol­lop of sci­ence. Its monthly events give chil­dren and their fam­i­lies the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore wild na­ture and wild places to­gether.

For this, KCC spon­sors var­i­ous events and out­ings through­out the year.

Last au­tumn, led by my­col­o­gist Bar­bara Paulus, KCC took 30 chil­dren and their fam­i­lies fungi hunt­ing at To­tara Re­serve.

After a brief­ing on where fungi like to live, and armed with a sim­ple check­list de­tail­ing the dif­fer­ent types of fungi, the group walked along the camp­ground tracks check­ing off those they found.

It was sur­pris­ing just how many fungi were in the lo­cal­ity.

Some KCC events take place after school, such as the spe­cial op­por­tu­nity last year to visit the Wild­base Hos­pi­tal at Massey Univer­sity.

Dur­ing the visit, wildlife tech­ni­cian Pauline Ni­j­man talked to the chil­dren about the work the team does and in­tro­duced them to some of the hos­pi­tal’s res­i­dents.

The chil­dren were lucky enough to see a Kiwi re­ceive med­i­ca­tion and meet a tu­atara up­close.

Com­ing up in 2017, the di­verse range of KCC events in­cludes a trip to Kapiti Is­land; an overnight tramp to the Tararua For­est Park; ex­plor­ing fresh­wa­ter in­ver­te­brates at a lo­cal stream, and a visit to a dairy farm to learn what farm­ers are do­ing to help im­prove wa­ter qual­ity.

It can be dif­fi­cult for fam­i­lies to get out into the bush.

Ob­sta­cles may in­clude not know­ing where to start or where to go, a lack of bushcraft skills and knowl­edge, or sim­ply be­ing too busy to or­gan­ise an out­ing.

En­rolling chil­dren or grand­chil­dren as KCC mem­bers re­moves all these kind of has­sles, and most KCC events are free.

To find out more, con­tact manawatu@kcc.org.nz or go to the KCC web­site

Kiwi Con­ser­va­tion Club mem­bers on a fungi hunt­ing ex­pe­di­tion at To­tara Re­serve.

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