Saturday 15th August – Sunday 23rd August 2020


Conservation Week is a chance to take another, closer look at the natural world around us. And once we're looking, it's an opportunity to learn about the ways we can work together to protect that world for the future.
 

The Natural Sciences team at Auckland Museum is involved in a range of ongoing conservation initiatives. You can explore their projects, which take place everywhere from backyards to rocky ocean outcrops, below. 

Leave no stone unturned

Leave no stone unturned

The theme for Conservation Week 2020 is "nature through new eyes". We're passionate about getting kids involved in science and conservation in really accessible ways. Earlier this year, the Citizen Scientists Initiative, or CSI, recruited kids to take another, closer look at the things living in their backyards, photograph what they found, and upload it to the iNaturalist platform for Museum scientists to identify.

Kids uncovered a range of strange and wonderful wildlife, from a type of fungi known as the 'Potato Earthball' to the green lacewing, an insect our Curator of Entomology discovered last year. Another investigator discovered the first known record of the Myrianida pachycera, or Marine polychaete worm!

Become a citizen scientist at home
KIDS SCIENCE ACTIVITY

Become a citizen scientist at home

We need your help to find out about the biodiversity in your backyards. See what you can find and report it in a special system. We've updated this resource with more cool things to find.

So far our CSI fieldworkers have logged more than 1500 observations and identified more than 500 species from up and down the country - ka rawe, investigators!

Get involved

Saving the Spotted Shag


What counts as 'conservation' can change over time - just look at the spotted shag. A hundred years ago, shags were shot in the name of science and also to preserve fish stocks, and their numbers continued to decline sharply in the 20th century. Today, Auckland Museum scientists are working in the lab and at sea to establish which species need saving and how best to save them.

Sometimes, that work requires a bit of creative thinking. In the video below, follow Auckland Museum's Curator, Land Vertebrates Matt Rayner as he leads a team of scientists and volunteers to scan, 3D print, paint, and install a troupe of shag models on Otata Island in the Hauraki Gulf, in the hopes that they'll lure passing populations to the island to breed. 
 


The lifecycle of a 3D-printed decoy shag 

A lot of work still to be done


Just a few weeks ago, we went back to Tarahiki Island on a shag-tagging mission that will help our teams monitor recovering populations. More visits were planned for the following weeks so we could catch the shags at the crucial time between hatching and fledgling. Unfortunately, with the Auckland region currently under Level 3 Covid-19 guidelines, this will have to wait.

This short video shows the team heading out to Tarahiki Island on that misty morning expedition to check on a Hauraki Gulf spotted shag population.


A spade, a saddleback, and thousands of trees
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A spade, a saddleback, and thousands of trees

How many volunteers does it take to make a wildly successful native bird sanctuary? More than you'd think. Read about how a humble spade tells the story of the committed volunteers who made Tiritiri Matangi a conservation project for the people.

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Online jigsaw puzzles

These beautiful native bird paintings by artist and illustrator Erin Forsyth will form part of the Tiritiri Matangi bird wall in our new Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland gallery. With Erin's permission, we've turned them into online jigsaw puzzles. You can adjust the difficulty of each puzzles to suit the puzzler - they're an excellent way to admire every intricate detail.

A case of mistaken identity
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A case of mistaken identity

Nearly 40 years ago, an Auckland Museum scientist landed on an impossibly remote rocky island hunting for strange vegetation. Instead, he discovered what could be a completely new subspecies of albatross. Learn about the DNA research the Museum's researchers are doing today to find the missing pieces.

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