Pupils from Henley, St Paul’s and Nelson Central schools joined representatives from DOC, Bowater Toyota, Keep Richmond Beautiful and Richmond Native Bird Recovery at the launch of the Toyota Kiwi Guardians walk at Jimmy Lee Creek on Friday. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

Young children explore Tasman

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Jimmy Lee Creek and the Tasman Great Taste Trail were added to the growing list of Toyota Kiwi Guardian adventure sites aimed at encouraging young children to get off the couch and start exploring the natural environment.

Toyota Kiwi Guardians is an outdoor activity programme run by the Department of Conservation in partnership with Toyota New Zealand and already has 60 sites around the country.

Last Friday, Nelson celebrated its first “guardian sites” when primary children and representatives from DOC, Toyota, Keep Richmond Beautiful and Richmond Native Bird Recovery explored Jimmy Lee Creek in Richmond.

DOC Community Ranger Sally Leggett says children and their families can visit the new sites and, using the Kiwi Guardians activity maps, enjoy a range of activities. They can also find the new guardian posts at each site and record the unique code, and enter it online to receive an “adventure medal”.

“They can spot birds feeding in the Waimea Inlet, learn about the hardy godwit, ride over an awesome suspension bridge on the cycle trail; check for weta in a weta hotel, search for ancient rocks with fossilised shells in them and look for birds up close in a bird hide at Jimmy Lee Creek,” Sally says.

The new site on the Tasman Great Taste Trail can be accessed from Sandeman Reserve at Sandeman Rd off Lower Queen St, while Jimmy Lee Creek starts on Hill St just south of Queen St in Richmond.

David Eagle from Bowater Toyota says they are happy to be part of a programme that is “enabling and motivating kids to get back into nature”.

Toyota has teamed up with DOC, the Tasman District Council and the Tasman Cycle Trail Trust to establish the two sites in Nelson.

The Toyota Kiwi Guardians explorer maps can be downloaded at kiwiguardians.co.nz