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Eat a pest and get a free rat trap for Conservation Week in Wellington

Wellingtonians can give our native species a helping hand starting this weekend by answering the call to Conservation Week.

Today and next Sunday, local food trucks at Harbourside Market will serve pest-themed dishes, with prizes for the first to eat their way through the menu, including wild venison pie and goat dumplings.

Department of Conservation rangers will also be on hand with tips on trapping and weeding, and free rat traps will be available.

Other events during Conservation Week, which runs from 15 to 23 September across the city, include working bees, shopping for native plants, and a range of expert speakers.

The theme of “Conservation Week is Calling” is encouraging people to get involved in conservation-related activities during the week and find out how they can help turn around the loss of our unique biodiversity.

DOC Kapiti Wellington Community Ranger Lee Barry says New Zealand’s native wildlife is in crisis with more than 4,000 of our species threatened or at risk.

“We need to act now or we could lose wonderful, unique native species. If they go, we will lose a part of what makes New Zealand special.

“The biggest threat to our plants and wildlife is from introduced predators like rats, stoats and possums. Getting rid of predators is an important first step.

“Wellington is well on the way to becoming the first predator free city. At some events people can pick up a free rat trap and learn how to do their bit to achieve Predator Free 2050.”

Conservation Week events include:

Sunday 16 September

Pest Feast, Harbourside Market, 8:00am to 2:00 pm.
Local food trucks serve pest-themed dishes with prizes for the first to eat through the menu. DOC rangers on hand with tips on trapping and weeding. Free rat traps available.

Nature Day at Zealandia, end of Waiapu Road, 9:00am to 5:00 pm.
A day of conservation, featuring half price entry, fun education activities, talks from experts, face painting and more.

Baring Head Working Bee, Baring Head, Wainuiomata Coast Road, Lower Hutt, 10:00am to 1:00 pm.
Work will depend on the weather; either weed work on the coast or restoration at the lighthouse. Meet at the bridge carpark, 1km before the coast on the Wainuiomata Coast Road at 10am. Bring good footwear, clothes for changeable weather and your lunch.

Monday 17 September

Wellington City Council is working with landscape students from Victoria University of Wellington on designs for a new nursery at Otari-Wilton’s Bush. You can study the Otari-Wilton’s Bush and VUW Nursery Concept Exhibition and vote for your favourite on the mezzanine floor at the Wellington Central Library, 65 Victoria Street. The winning design will influence the concept for the new nursery. As well as voting on site at the Library you can also vote at the Wellington Gardens Facebook page until 23 September, when the exhibition closes.

Pauatahanui Working Bee, Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve, Pauatahanui, Porirua, 9:00am to 3:00 pm
Expect planting of natives, working in the native plant nursery, removing invasive weeds and some track maintenance. Bring sturdy boots, long sleeves and pants, waterproof jacket, warm layers, a water bottle and some food.

Tuesday 18 September

Project Jonah events at Lower Hutt War Memorial Library, Cnr Queens Drive and Woburn Road, Lower Hutt.
Story time with Mina, Schools Educator from Project Jonah, 2:00pm to 3:00pm.
Hear Project Jonah volunteer Cameron Sang talk about whales, dolphins, and what it’s like to be a volunteer medic with Project Jonah., 6:00pm to 7:00pm.

Wednesday 19 September

Seminar: Living with Wellington’s Wildlife, Zealandia, end of Waiapu Road. 7.30pm to 8:30pm. (limited space, registrations required)
This talk from Dr Danielle Shanahan, Manager of Conservation and Research at Zealandia will cover why Wellington is becoming increasingly nature rich, what is driving it and how we could make it even better.

Saturday 22 September

Otari Open Day Native Plant sale, Otari–Wilton’s Bush, Wilton Road, 10:00am to 2:00 pm
This annual event includes the popular native plant sale, plus a DOC stall with tips on weed control to let natives thrive.

Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September

Celebrate Conservation at Wellington Zoo, Wellington Zoo, Daniell Street, 9.30am to 5:00 pm.
Celebrate Aotearoa’s unique wildlife with lots of fun conservation-themed activities and half price entry for children. Build a gecko friendly garden, create enrichment for the kea or join the Bubble Man for some popping fun.

Sunday 23 September

Pest Feast, Harbourside Market, 8:00am to 2:00pm
Local food trucks serve pest-themed dishes with prizes for the first to eat through the menu. DOC rangers on hand with tips on trapping and weeding. Free rat traps available.

For more details on these and other events go to www.conservationweek.org.nz