People across the region are being encouraged to look in their backyard this Conservation Week to see how they can help protect and nurture our unique wildlife.

Conservation Week runs from 14-22 October and this year the Department of Conservation is trying to get people to convert their love of nature into action.

"We know that the vast majority of New Zealanders (85 per cent) rate conservation as important to them personally, yet still only about one in 10 have actively helped on a conservation project," says acting operations manager for Hawke's Bay Kelly Conway.

"We want to show people that conservation can be done in your own backyard, gardens, parks and marine areas. Even small actions make a big difference.


"Our predator-free vision of ridding the country of rats, stoats and possums by 2050 starts in your own backyard. It's great to see momentum gathering as more communities band together to make their own areas predator free."

Ms Conway says there are plenty of Conservation Week activities to show people how easy and fun it is to get involved.

"Getting out and taking care of our nature also has the added benefit of improving health and wellbeing, so it's win-win," says Ms Conway.

"It's great to see DOC's partners also getting involved in Conservation Week. This includes Genesis, who are encouraging kids to take part in a national competition with its Whio Boot Camp online game. As well as being fun, the game teaches players how a whio lives in the wild, eating, running rapids and hopefully avoiding predators.

"Toyota New Zealand are also getting involved. Our Toyota Kiwi Guardians programme connects kids with nature and rewards them with medals. Conservation Week marks the launch of our new waterways clean-up medal, Toa Tiaki Wai."

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