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My work at Whakanewha regional park

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Beitis, 29 Nov 2010 09:21 am

Hi! All your experience sounds amazing! I´m a spanish girl and I would want to go to New Zealand this March, and i would want to know how I can contact the park rangers. Thanks Bea

David (admin), 30 Mar 2009 06:23 pm

Well summer is slipping away fast now but is the perfect time to get involved in the many volunteer opportunities available through the New Zealand Trust for Conservation Volunteers website. On my summer break from post graduate environmental studies; I took full advantage of the multitude of opportunities available through the Conservation Volunteers website, taking two months off over January and February to immerse myself in the conservation industry here in New Zealand. Over these two months I have worked on a variety of different jobs, the majority of which I found through the conservation volunteers website. This article documents my first volunteer opportunity of the New Year, monitoring New Zealand dotterel and other rare shorebirds and trapping pest species at Whakanewha Regional Park on Waiheke Island, half an hour by ferry from downtown Auckland. I spent three weeks at Whakanewha, a 270 hectare park dominated by mature coastal forest and owned by the Auckland Regional Council. In addition to five breeding pairs of the endangered northern New Zealand dotterel (Charadrius obscurus aquilonius), the park is home to variable oystercatchers and their chicks, white faced herons, pied stilts, bittern, banded rail and spotless crake along with a variety of forest birds. While working at the park, I had the opportunity to monitor these coastal birds, and chick development both manually and with surveillance camera systems. The majority of the work however consisted of establishing monitoring lines for tracking tunnels and trapping for pest species, and essential component of endangered species management. Establishing monitoring lines and checking ink cards for signs of unwanted organisms in native bush is a rewarding activity, but suits those with a high fitness levels, and a good sense of navigation, although much can be picked up on the job; my GPS skills for example definitely improved with my work at the park. Because of the training involved, the rangers request that volunteers commit to a minimum of two weeks work, and the accommodation provided is next to the ranger base so there is access to kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities, however food is not provided. I would like to thank Andy Spence and the other rangers at the regional park for giving me the opportunity to volunteer at the park, and Steve Devereaux the dotterel guardian at Whakanewha for instructing me in trapping and monitoring.

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