The Department of Conservation (DOC) is encouraging people to take a moment for nature at home or online this 52nd annual Conservation Week to be marked from September 4 to 12.
“This year’s Conservation Week focus has had to change to reflect the changing Alert Levels. Our health and wellbeing are strengthened when we connect with nature, which is so important at the moment,” DOC director general Lou Sanson said.
He said a recent New Zealanders in the Outdoors survey had shown a clear link between mental and physical health and the outdoors. The survey asked respondents to describe the key benefits of spending time outdoors: 41 per cent referenced their mental health as a motivation, 35 per cent referenced physical health and 34 per cent cited a desire for connection with nature. Getting away from everyday routine and reflecting were also considered important.
“Our team of rangers and fabulous community and iwi groups around the country had lots of great events planned, which we hope we will be able to hold at some point, but nature is adaptable, and so are we,” Sanson said.
“Instead, we have come up with innovative ways to make Conversation Week happen online and at home with activities to connect people to nature – there is something for everyone.”
The online activities range from taking a virtual walk to find penguins, kākāpō; soaking up the views on a virtual Great Walk; joining a citizen science project; listening to a “Sounds of Science” podcast; downloading a new nature wallpaper for your phone lock screen; or taking part in a digital treasure hunt or daily quiz on the DOC website.
At-home activities include learning to try cooking with nature using things in your backyard and a huge range of Toyota Kiwi Guardians activities which young people can earn medals for doing.
“It’s great to see a huge range of non-traditional nature connection activities for people to get their nature fix at the moment, and our thousands of walks, camps, and huts will be ready for you when it’s safe to return to the outdoors,” said Sanson.
For more information on www.conservationweek.org.nz