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Conservation Minister Maggie Barry is encouraging New Zealanders to get out and enjoy their own backyards and make a difference locally during Conservation Week which starts today.

“Take a look around you and see how you can help protect and nurture our unique wildlife.  Perhaps install a rat, stoat or possum trap or join volunteers who’re already working with DOC and community groups on the War on Weeds or to achieve the goal of Predator Free NZ by 2050,” Ms Barry says.

“If we are to rid our country of these unwanted vermin it needs to start in our own backyards and even small actions make a real difference. It’s great to see momentum gathering as more communities band together to make their own areas predator free to protect our native birds and wildlife.”

More than a hundred Conservation Week events have been organised around the country by DOC, local businesses and community groups.

“From a guided walk to hear the dawn chorus at Ark in the Park in Auckland to attending the release of kaka in Hawke’s Bay, there is an impressive range of organised activities,” Ms Barry says.

“You can help plant natives along a Canterbury spring with endangered mudfish or learn how to make your garden a pollinator’s paradise with help from Auckland botanic gardens on what to plant.”

“There’s also a backyard trapping workshop in Karori Wellington and a clean-up of the Awatapu Lagoon in the Bay of Plenty.”

“Getting out into nature and weeding and trapping not only helps our natural environments, it also has a positive effect on people’s wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation’s been working with DOC’s ‘Healthy Nature Healthy People’ programme to encourage us all to use our national parks, and the Great, Short and Day Walks to help improve our overall health and wellbeing.”

“Our natural environment already provides inspiration, excitement, refreshment, relaxation and solitude and this Conservation Week it would be good to join forces and give something back to help nature.”

For more details on the various events go to doc.govt.nz for Conservation week events.

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