Rotorua students are taking on roles as Wingspan Warriors as part of efforts to protect the New Zealand falcon.

Conservation Week 2017, from October 26-20, encourages residents to "love your backyard" through getting involved in activities and events to help bring back native birds, and protect our wildlife and flora and fauna.

In Rotorua, efforts are already under way and will be stepped up even further when students return to school in Term 4.

More than 10,000 school children will become Wingspan Warriors during Conservation Week, when they learn, care and lead new efforts within their classrooms, families and communities to support New Zealand's fastest flyer the karearea (New Zealand Falcon).


The initiative also includes a new lesson plan developed for primary schools.

Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre founder and executive director Debbie Stewart said only 25 per cent of karearea chicks survived past one year, with the highest population density of karearea in commercial pine plantations, in particular the Kaingaroa Forest.

"They are also recognised as our apex predator and are critical to the health of our forest eco-systems," Ms Stewart said.

Wingspan is New Zealand's leading conservation, education and research organisation for birds of prey.

Schools around the country are getting on board, with Kaingaroa Forest School the first to begin its Healthy Forests teaching and learning using the new lesson plan during a visit to the Wingspan Centre last month.

Wingspan Warriors from Mokoia Intermediate School, Ngakuru Primary School and Malfroy School will visit Rotorua's Wingspan Centre from November 13 to witness the season's first fledgling karearea chicks being nurtured to good health and to bring their learnings from the new lesson to life.