Southland Community Nursery - Nature Education Programme
Have fun and learn in nature (all ages!)
Learn about nature and appreciate the natural environment while out in the environment. Have hands-on learning outdoor experiences in a safe environment. Simply be in nature. Go outdoors. Support well-being, health and physical wellness. Explore all curriculum areas (including art, writing, maths, science and technology) through nature. Use your senses to connect with nature.
Have fun getting close to nature - the Nature Education Centre is suitable for all ages.
Habitat and Ecosystem studies
Discover what a habitat is, and what plants and animals live in different habitats. Southland’s indigenous habitats can be identified and explored. Learn about adaptations by living things to different habitats and how all these living things interact with each other as an ecosystem, food chain or food web. Explore native and introduced species, and the role of humans in habitats and ecosystems. At the Southland Community Nursery walk in a 500 year old forest remnant, restored forest and wetland areas. Learn how forests work and what layers they are made up of. Explore the different parts of a wetland system. What kind of habitats do you have at your place? Now explore the ecology of your school grounds.
Native plants in Southland
Learn all about NZ native plants and how to grow them. Learning how to identify NZ native plants can be tricky! Find out about the NZ natives that live in Southland (and thrive in our conditions here!). See why plants are so important and what part they play in our NZ forest habitat. Be a botanist by exploring plant terminology, classifying plants and looking at the names of plants. Explore the traditional, medicinal and current use and values of plants. Learn how to choose the right native plant for your place.
Growing native plants for your place
Get hands on seed collecting, sowing seeds, taking cuttings and potting up Undertake practical activities for seed collecting and sowing and learn how to grow new plants. Look at how, and what seeds and plants need to grow? Utilise the nursery set up, and pond and bush tracks at the Southland Community Nursery searching for seeds and looking at native plants, seed collecting, seed cleaning, discovering the way seeds are distributed, identifying parts of a seed and discovering how to grow and care for native plants. Come and learn to grow plants for your project… acquiring knowledge about colonising or nursery species, natural succession and other plant terminology. Take part in some restorative planting – learning about what time of year to plant and how to plan and prepare your place for such a project.
Learn how to create habitat. Take a step back in time learning the history of Southland and NZ wide bush clearance, and the growing awareness and action initiatives to grow native plants and restore areas back to nature. Look at the restoration happening at the Southland Community Nursery. The nursery property features extensive restoration plantings linking mature kahikatea forest with shrubland and wetland. Learn about restoring a paddock back to bush, and the important role people now play, as part of the environment and for conservation. Identify current kaitiaki of the environment and connect with the community groups involved in conservation management at your place.
Birds and Attracting native birds to your place
Native birds are a part of our NZ forest habitat. Hear the story of NZs unique and diverse native birds, learn to identify them, discover their features and adaptations (such as beaks, feet, wings, eggs and nests), uncover how birds feed and what they eat, and spot species that are naturally found at your place. Learn hands on how to go about starting your own growing project to create habitat for birds. Discover the vital place birds play in traditional Maori life
Beaut bugs - become a bug scientist
Come and visit the amazing variety of bugs at the nursery discovering the incredible diversity of invertebrates that can be found in your local place. Reveal the different roles insects play in our environment and in the food web. See the different habitats insects have adapted to and be introduced to the classification of insects. Assess how bug friendly your place is and see how to encourage insects to your place.
Identify what threatens our precious native flora and fauna and discover how the introduction of animal pests is a major threat to our native species and ecology. Learn about what pest species are having an impact and look at pest control operations. Plant weeds are also having a negative impact on natives in NZ. Explore what adaptations have made these plant pests so successful and learn what you can do. Learn how to identify what pests you have at your place.
We have developed a range of site-specific learning resources to help you get the most out of your visit. Download them as PDFs or use the hard-copies available at the Nature Education Centre.
- Activity Cards - a range of outdoor fun activities for children to learn about nature.
- Beaut Bugs - how many bugs can you find?
- Leaf Bingo - an easy and fun way to learn how to identify native plants.
- Leaf Bingo Maori Uses - learn about traditional Maori uses for some of our native plants
- Who am I? - animal pests
- Who am I? - birds
- Who am I? - lizards and frogs
- Who did that? - put your detective hat on
- Plant ID Course Cards