News and Events

Community Nursery Events February 2020

Lots of things are happening!!

Thanks TW Events – or Transport World!! - A generous donation just before Christmas had Bronwyn and I going shopping for the Community Nursery Education Centre. We raided “Young Reflections” where Joy and Bronwyn (another Bronwyn!) helped us choose many educational toys, books, bug catchers and other things for the Centre. Thanks to Adam Reinsfield at TW Events for his enthusiasm, for suggesting us and helping out the Southland Community Nursery and Education Centre – it will benefit the hundreds of school children who come through our centre to learn about their environment.

Community Nursery Recipe Book – ready for sale – get your copy for $10 – its been a while in the making but is packed with recipes and foraging tips from Community Nursery participants past and present. Order your copy today from Chris. Thanks Bronwyn for many hours of work pulling it all together.

Workshops coming up – weekend 7/8 March 2020 Jo Ogier and Sandra Morris Art Workshop and Saturday 14 March 2020 a morning and afternoon workshop with Rob Tipa – “Maori Traditional Uses of Native Plants” - details of both workshops are at and both are first come first served, booking essential by emailing Chris at Enable JavaScript to view protected content.

Also, some strange patterns are appearing on the Education Centre floor – watch this space or come and see what’s evolving!

And the completion of Parkes Hut - the cutest little interpretation centre on the planet - thanks Derek

Friday Volunteer Mornings are on and we have lots of plants for sale at $5 PB3 size – come along and have a look one Friday morning.



Nursery reopening on Friday 17 January 2020

The Community Nursery will reopen for volunteers on the morning of Friday 17 January 2020. There will be plenty to do, if the plants survive the recent weather! We should have some very wind tolerant natives to sell!!

The Jo Ogier print raffle at out break-up do raised around $200 for the Nursery, and the winner was fittingly Maggie Elford (Maggie not in photo!). Thanks Jo for giving us the artwork to raffle. We have some exciting workshops planned early in the new year so keep a lookout on the website to book your place. See you on the 17th January 2020! We have a new bird scaring device - clearly it didnt work!! (well not in the stong winds we have been having anyway!!).


Community Nursery Christmas Break-up Friday 20 December 2019

Bronwyn and I have just finished a very busy year with school and other groups visiting the Nursery. This calendar year so far we have had 1649 visitors (excluding Friday volunteers) – nearly twice as many as the previous year! Most of these visitors have been school groups culminating in the whole of Otatara School visiting last week – 300 students over two days doing a mini-bioblitz! You can read all about it at as well as all the other exciting events we have held this year.

As well as holding our Break- up event on Friday with various activities (and maybe a little work) we will have a few exciting potential Christmas gifts on offer so bring CASH (like a Caveman!) so you can purchase some of Honorlea’s natural body products and maybe a native plant for your “hard to buy for friends”, and for a special raffle – Jo Ogier has very kindly donated a limited edition artwork – tickets $2 each – proceeds to the Community Nursery. We will be drawing it on the day.

A big thanks from me to everyone who has helped out at the Community Nursery and Education Centre this year, particularly Bronwyn who has done such a fantastic job with school groups and a big thanks to a Lotteries for making this possible.


Otatara School Bioblitz – Day 2

Day 2 of the Otatara School Bioblitz at the Community Nursery was held on Thursday 12 December 2019. Another 150 students came in groups of 50 to find as many plants and animals as possible in their allotted two hours. The weather was hot and dry (for a change)!

As with the Monday, students were divided into groups doing pond studies with Pat Hoffman (ES), Bush studies with Mark Oster and Walter (ES), Restoration planting area studies with Jesse Bythell (QEII) and Paddock studies with Lloyd Esler. Bronwyn, Linda and Chris were at Base Camp (The Education Centre) for identification of all the plants and critters found. There was lots of excitement as students searched high and low to find plants and animals and put them into their pottles to study at Base Camp. The glee and excitiement of finding something in your net or under logs was infectious!

Some interesting finds were

Bush – we learned all about “Loopy Nachos” from Mark Oster (a tale about Looper and Notcher caterpillars on flax leaves). Lots more ferns and shade loving plants were collected and identified and Kotukutuku Fuchsia flowers looked at closely under magnifying glasses. Ground beetles and spiders were collected. There were some chew marks on the possum chew cards but rumour has it that they belonged to Mark Oster!!

Paddock – because of the hot weather lots of flying insects were chased down by children with nets and lots of insects were found. The paddock is a great place for chasing down insects as well as looking in and under the trees around the paddock.

Restoration Area – the pitfall traps were emptied with a large black ground beetle and a weta in one, the weta hotels around the restoration area also had weta inside them, the Artificial Cover Devices (ACD’s) – brown corrugated covers were lifted up carefully but not much was found underneath this time. On Monday a skink lizard had been seen (fleetingly!).

At the pond, blue damselflies were flying and landing on the pondside rushes. Their freshwater stage larvae were also observed under the water, wirlygig beetles were found zooming around but the most exciting find of the day were two very tiny koura babies – see photo with a pencil for scale.

Thanks to our amazing helpers Mark, Walter, Pat, Jesse, Lloyd and Linda and to the teachers and parents and the students themselves. What a fantastic end to the year.

Chris and Bronwyn

Beach Litter Intelligence Programme Workshop held at the Nursery – 7 December 2019

Sustainable Coastlines came south and held a litter data collection workshops/training – showing those participating what they are offering to community groups, school and volunteers to enable them to take part in a long term beach litter monitoring effort. We found out about the project (see attached) and how it contributes to an accurate picture of the beach litter problem in New Zealand being built. A minimum of 108 beach sites across Aotearoa will be monitored at least four times per year for the next three years, and Sustainable Coastlines provide the training and tools required for volunteers to take part in this project as Citizen Scientists. As part of the day we set up a monitoring site at Oreti Beach, learning the methodology and loading the litter data (from our comprehensive sorting effort) into a nationwide beach litter Citizen Science Platform/App Sustainable Coastlines have developed specifically for the project. It was a great day. If you’re interested in being involved in this programme and future workshops get in touch with Sustainable Coastlines - Ben Knight / Programmes Coordinator Enable JavaScript to view protected content. / +64 22 1974100.