New Zealanders are being encouraged to look at nature through new eyes during Conservation Week 2020, which this year is from August 15-22.
Conservation Week is an annual event led by the Department of Conservation (DoC), and this year's focus is on the well-being benefits of spending time in nature, says DoC Director General Lou Sanson.
"As we work together to defeat Covid-19, many of us are looking at life and our world with different perspectives," he says.
"Nature hasn't changed – but we have. We've slowed down and taken time to reflect on the most important things in our lives. We've had to change how we live, and what we can do.
"Papatūānuku's wellbeing is our wellbeing. Take a little time in nature for your wellbeing, and if you can, give a little back to nature for its wellbeing."
Many New Zealanders find solace in their daily exercise, engaging with nature through visits to their local parks, beaches and waterways, Lou Sanson says.
"Although we have to limit contact with each other during periods of lockdown, for many of us, nature is helping us through a pretty unusual time."
Lou Sanson says Conservation Week is an opportunity for people to take time to immerse themselves in nature and reconnect with it.
"We want people to enjoy nature using all their senses – look, touch, smell, and listen. Take a few moments to soak up nature and explore your relationship with it through the sights and sounds of New Zealand's beautiful natural places.
"Nature has a way of inspiring awe and wonder, and we want people to feel that during Conservation Week."
Mr Sanson says if people do have the opportunity to spend time in nature during Conservation Week 2020, they are urged to do so safely and sensibly, and in line with Covid-19 alert level rules for their area.
"If you can't get out in nature, join us for some great nature experiences on DoC's digital channels," he says.
For more information visit www.conservationweek.org.nz