Call goes out to count all creatures

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Puriri moths like these are among some of the living things to be counted at Pukaha Mt Bruce.PHOTO/CATHERINE ROSSITER-STEAD
Puriri moths like these are among some of the living things to be counted at Pukaha Mt Bruce.PHOTO/CATHERINE ROSSITER-STEAD

Pukaha Mt Bruce is calling all budding conservationists to help with its first ever "BioBlitz".

The wildlife centre is asking for volunteers for its first mini-stocktake, an event organisers describe as a scientific race against time to count as much flora and fauna as possible.

The free event will be held on February 26 and 27, with families and children welcome to take part.

On February 26 more than 80 students from schools in Wairarapa and Tararua will take part in the mini-inventory, with the public able to take part the next day.

Project leader Catherine Rossiter-Stead said volunteers would be given a sample area and asked to count any plants or animals they saw and any birdcalls they might hear.

Participants would be encouraged to take photos of species they did not recognise, which they could either send in for checking or check on the NatureWatch smartphone app.

"It's an opportunity for the community to be a part of the action and be involved," Mrs Rossiter-Stead said.

Small children accompanied by an adult would be able to take part in a special timeslot offered for the youngest conservationists.

The Huia room will also be open to the public, with people able to use the microscopes provided to check out some of the creatures found during the inventory.

Conservation manager Todd Jenkinson said the BioBlitz would help staff determine how the pest control programme was working.

"This pest control here is targeted at all the sexy animals but what other diversity do we have out there?"

It was also about getting young people involved with conservation at an early age, Mr Jenkinson said.

"It's sowing the seed for the next generation of scientists and conservationists."

General manager Helen Tickner said it was a rare opportunity for people to experience the biodiversity of the reserve.

"It is rare for so many different types of biologists to be able to work together in the same place, at the same time and on the same project.

"We are also very lucky to have two of NZ's conservation heroes, Nicola Toki and Ruud Kleinpaste, participating."

The sample area will be near the trapline located behind the aviaries, which begins near the stand of redwoods.

A team from Massey University will be taking stock of the Bruce Stream.

Pukaha Mt Bruce is also giving people the chance to explore the centre at night, with talks from Nicola Toki and Ruud Kleinpaste at a supper fundraising event "Our Wonderful Wildlife" on February 26.

Those interested in the free Bioblitz event or evening seminar should go to www.pukaha.org.nz

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