News and Events

Teachers workshop with Ruud Kleinpaste 18 August 2019

Ruud’s straight to the point summary of the state of our earth as an ecosystem switched to the wonder of biodiversity on earth and how this biodiversity provides us with ecosystem services that means we (as humans) can live on earth! Many ecosystem services are provided by insects and bugs, such as pollination and seed dispersal, dung clean up (just imagine if there were no bugs cleaning up the dung of this world!), predator and other roles. Insects and bugs have been on this earth for 3.8 billion years and have been doing a fine job of not destroying the planet!

Ruud then very honestly outlined how disconnected we as humans have become from nature in our relatively short stay on earth, his statements and graphics giving us all something to ponder. So as teachers we have to help humans rediscover the operations manual of planet earth…to become nature literate again. If teachers are nature literate, children will be nature literate and New Zealanders will be nature literate.

Ruud very easily outlined how nature literacy infuses all curriculum subjects – numeracy, science ecology, chemistry, literacy, social studies, art, music, dance, design and technology and more! Learning about nature, learning in nature and learning from nature were all aspects that Ruud covered in an inspiring way.

We then did what he thought is most important and we went outside into nature. We noticed algae on harakeke, fungi up tree trunks, spider webs, notches and scrapes up harakeke, and so much more…insects and bugs at work everywhere. Afterwards Ruud shared his friends with us – getting to hold weta and look up close at insects and what insects build. What amazing creatures bugs are! A great morning learning about bugs!

Check out for Beaut Bugs and Who Did That?

Community Nursery open Friday Mornings

The Nursery will be open for volunteers from this Friday - 16 August 2019. Lots of jobs to be done to give the nursery a good spring clean and prepare for the coming season. See you there, with food for morning tea! regards


The “Bugman” is Coming… August 2019

The Teachers workshop with renowned environmental education advocate and entomologist Ruud (“The Bugman”) Kleinpaste on Sunday 18 August 2019 is fully booked.

If you would like your name added to the waiting list Contact Bronwyn Graham for the nursery: Enable JavaScript to view protected content. – please put Ruud Workshop in subject line

Details and other workshops at

Holiday fun in nature - July 2019

While the nursery operations (growing plants) side of the Southland Community Nursery is still closed for winter, there are still education happenings. Unlike the usual school and service groups that we have visit the nursery to learn and experience nature it was a new experience for us to have the Awarua Whanau Services and Stand Children’s Services holiday group visit the nursery. All this hardy group of tamariki wanted to do was go bush – fantastic to have such willingness to head out to explore! We headed bush, oblivious to the drizzle, along the way searching for different leaves of NZ native trees – to see which of the two groups could get the most points. While we didn’t find kōtukutuku leaves (they are one of the few NZ natives to lose their leaves) we did find kōtukutuku flowers! And the pīwakawaka found us! After some kai, looking at the resources in the education centre and puzzle fun we potted up some mānuka seedlings into bigger pots before heading out again. This time the sensory scavenger hunt had us not only looking, but touching, listening and smelling the wonders of nature. A great way to spend a winter holiday day.


Bird focused learners from Otatara Kindergarten - 25 June 2019

Today the drizzly weather didn’t deter the Otatara Kindergarten from exploring at the Southland Community Nursery and learning more about birds following on from their inquiry at kindy. After walking through the orchard spotting a few birds we spent some time in the education centre. We discovered how birds use the trees that the nursery grows for nest building, homes, food (berries) and insects. Meeting our soft toy friends the pukeko (who likes wet areas), the Kereru (who is the only bird in our NZ forest with a beak big enough to eat the berry of the miro tree), the fantail or piwakawaka (who loves to eat insects), the tui (with a tongue like a paintbrush to sip nectar) and the bellbird or korimako (who has a beautiful singing voice) was followed by a treasure hunt for the different birds that live in the local surrounding habitat by matching up pictures with parts of the painted murals on the wall of the education centre. Time spent exploring the habitat tunnel and reading some books was followed by kai and then a walk to the bush. Donna the duck was on the pond, the bush was discovered and we silently listened for birds after we sang to them! We checked out the apples that are set out to feed the birds and then learnt the actions to the “kiwi bird” song. Thanks Otatata Kindergarten for visiting - I hope you continue to have fun spotting birds at your place.