Our first BioBlitz, held on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 February, has been declared an outstanding success.
A BioBlitz is a scientific race against time to find, identify and record all the different kinds of plants, fungi, animals, invertebrates and other living creatures present in a specific search area, in this case a one square kilometre area of the Pukaha Forest.
A total of 85 students joined the search on Friday and they were given a helping hand through the reserve by the Bug Man, Ruud Kleinpaste, and the Department of Conservation’s Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki. One of the highlights was a special discovery made by year 6 Greytown School student James Moreland, who found a Peripatus, or ‘velvet worm’, which have not been seen at Pukaha for 15 years.
On Friday night Ruud and Nicola hosted an evening talk, ‘Our Wonderful Wildlife’, followed by a night walk and exploration of the Pukaha Reserve with more than 50 guests.
The BioBlitz continued on Saturday with community volunteers, some as young as four years old, joining scientists from Massey University, Victoria University and the Department of Conservation in finding and identifying species found in the forest. There were a number of talks throughout the day and 45 children and their families joined Ruud and Nicola in a ‘Kids BioBlitz’ during the afternoon. The children were enthralled to find a Wellington green gecko, cave weta, giraffe weevils and an assortment of stick insects.
We were absolutely delighted with the turnout from the community to join us in our BioBlitz. It was brilliant to see both Ruud and Nicola engaging with everyone who attended and their enthusiasm for the natural world is contagious. We’re calling this event a complete success and are looking forward to receiving the completed species list from the scientists in due course.