Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Experiencing Nature with Kids - their way

It was all about being hands-on at the Koraunui Bioblitz this week. Schools in Stokes Valley took part in an amazing day of exploration on organised by Dianne Christenson of Koraunui School and supported by scientists and experts. Did I have some pre-conceived notions of a Bioblitz? Maybe, but I agreed with a fellow expert that this one should be led by the children's interests and observations.

My first eager group had bounce in their step as we headed along a small path among some new plantings at Horoeka Scenic Reserve.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Nature Heroine - Sheila Natusch and the orchids of Rakiura

I've just seen "No Ordinary Sheila", the documentary about the wonderful and not at all ordinary Sheila Natusch. This documentary was a clever blend of recent interviews and family photos, integrated with archival films from the relevant times in her life of, for example, of childhood on Rakiura / Stewart Island, high school at Invercargill, tertiary studies in Dunedin and work and marriage in Wellington. The documentary makers also used occasional current footage where it conveyed atmosphere, for example, of pupils at Invercargill Girl's High School.
Some interviews show her on a couch in a friend's living room or at the kitchen table talking to another writer or tramper, and it felt that we were present in the room listening to an elderly relative talk about their extraordinary life.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

School Holiday Crafts - with a freshwater fishy theme

As my latest book is all about freshwater, I've come up with some freshwater fish crafts to keep kids busy on a rainy day. Readers of "Up the River" will know that two of our native fish are banded kokopu and tuna (long-finned eels). Here are some fun ways kids can create their own banded kokopu or make a fishy themed pop-up card.

You will need:

  • two pieces of rectangular origami paper
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • glue stick
  • colour pens

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Out and About in Spring - clematis and other plants to see

A single clematis flower fallen to the forest floor
Out and about in Wellington in spring, it would be hard to miss the clematis in flower.

Clematis paniculata or Puawhananga is a native vine that festoons the forest. It's easiest to see on the edges of the forest or looking down on to the canopy.

My tramping group got curious about the clematis flowers looking different. So back home I did some research.