On the overnight Tāwharanui experience, students participate in bird and lizard monitoring, pest monitoring and trapping techniques, and go on a hikoi to do field work in forest, wetlands and marine reserve ecosystems. After dark, educators and students head into the forest, home to rare endemic nocturnal taonga, and explore the night sky.
Auckland Zoo outreach educator Frazer Dale says: “What’s so cool is that along with learning practical field conservation science skills to apply to projects back at their school, at home and in their communities, some of these kids are getting to camp out overnight for the very first time.”
“They are also getting to collaborate and work together, essential skills for achieving any conservation success, and are leaving having experienced unforgettable moments – like seeing or hearing a kiwi or takahē at night – moments that will last a lifetime,” says Frazer.
With Mazda Foundation’s support, Auckland Zoo is looking to expand its outreach conservation education offerings to other sites in and around the Auckland region (in schools, local parks and reserves) and for all ages. In time, the Zoo also hopes to be able to offer subsidies to low deciles schools to give more students the opportunity to participate.