Gordon Park Scenic Reserve has been added to the Department of Conservation and Toyota's nationwide network of parks and activities designed to get kids outdoors.

The Toyota Kiwi Guardians programme highlights family-friendly activities that support kids engaging their senses, taking risks and earning themselves medals for begin outside, active and involved with nature.

DOC Whanganui operations manager Jasmine Hessell said this is the wider Whanganui-Manawatu-Rangitikei region's third Kiwi Guardians opportunity after the Manawatu Gorge and Bruce Park near Hunterville.

"Gordon Park Scenic Reserve is easy to get to and allows families to experience a precious sample of a lowland forest which was once common in the area."

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Situated on the outskirts of Whanganui East, the reserve features a flat and well-formed track and is home to an array of birds.

Toyota New Zealand chief executive Alistair Davis said the company was "excited to be working with DOC on a project that encourages Kiwi kids to conserve our natural environment and have fun doing it."

"Like DOC, Toyota is passionate about making it easy for families to have great experiences in our national parks and reserves, and believes they are worth protecting."

The goal of the conservation programme is to turn Kiwi kids into guardians of the land and sea and increase Kiwi kids' connection with nature throughout New Zealand.

Research shows that a lifelong connection to nature can be established in six to ten year olds if they actively engage with it. The programme allows young people to have ownership over our conservation land - to feel part of it and want to care for it now and into the future.

The programme now has 36 sites and activities across the country which will increase to 55 by the end of the year.

Children can earn Kiwi Guardian medals by working on a variety of conservation tasks at home or in your local park, from becoming a pest detective to a weed warrior, and even tracking the family cat along the way.