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Source: Auckland Council

As it does every year, the godwit will shortly begin its return 12,000km nine-day non-stop flight from Alaska and Siberia to Auckland for its summer vacation.

It will begin landing in September at Te Atatū, dishevelled after an epic trip which will see it thankful for the feast of shellfish available to it in the Waitemata Harbour.

An assortment of rare birds call the confluence of the Whau River and Te Wai o Pareira home; including the cryptic banded rail, the inquisitive fernbird and the critically endangered Australasian Bittern.

And the health of this regionally significant ecosystem is being supported and closely monitored by the work carried out by Community Waitākere. Their most recent project, ‘Wild about Te Atatū’ is an effort to strengthen local’s connection with the area and show how actions can have a direct impact on their natural world.

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A strong focus of the project is on educating young people with free, fun, educational programmes provided to local schools; its also designed to teach students citizen science monitoring such as water quality testing through the Waicare programme.

“We are all about connecting young people’s hearts, hands and minds to their local environment, to care enough to take action,” says Education Coordinator Bronwyn Smith.

The education programme takes place in local parks and reserves, allowing trained Community Waitākere educators to provide kids with a practical education in the field.

In the last year, the Wild about Te Atatū Project has been granted $30,000 over 3 years from Auckland Council’s natural environment targeted rate through the Regional Environment Natural Heritage grants.

The funding has been applied to pest control and monitoring efforts around the Orangihina/Harbourview Reserve to assist volunteer efforts from Forest and Bird Waitakere and the local community.

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