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Coordinating Aotea’s ecological success story

Published: 27 November 2020

Aotea resident Taryn Wilks is on a mission to protect and enhance the island’s unique environment and ecology and is rallying others to be part of the journey.

The island’s Ecology Vision coordinator since late 2019, she says working on a personal level with people of all ages, sharing experiences, knowledge, skills, and inspiration has been very rewarding. 

Taryn brings a wealth of knowledge in both freshwater and terrestrial ecology to the role which is funded by Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board.

Since her appointment, Taryn has been supporting existing community groups to achieve their ecological restoration goals and helping emerging groups by providing technical advice and resources where needed. 

“The main challenge when I started was figuring out how Ecology Vision could be best utilised in a meaningful way for the environment and community. 

“Now I’ve got a really good grasp on this thanks to many discussions with the community about their vision for the island’s ecology.”

One of the major achievements has been the development and launch of the Ecology Vision website – a great resource to learn about the island’s ecology as well as community groups and activities. 

“Looking forward, I’d like to see continued focus on increasing pest control like rat trapping on private properties and beach clean-ups,” says Taryn. 

“Other projects I’m looking at are ‘pull weeds/plant natives’, a community bat-monitoring project, environmental training and I would really like to include a greater focus on working with the youth of Aotea.

“My vision is that our children and future generations are able to enjoy Aotea as we have, to experience a thriving, diverse, and clean environment to live, enjoy and play in.”

Taryn says everyone has a part to play in reducing pressures placed on the environment.

“Being mindful of our environmental footprint, waste, reducing weeds and predatory pests such as rats and cats and letting natural regeneration take place.”

The Ecology Vision project was initiated by Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board in 2015 to establish a community vision for the enhancement and management of the island’s natural environment and to support community-based environmental initiatives. 

It is a collaboration with Aotea community members, the local board, Auckland Council, Department of Conservation, iwi, sanctuaries, trusts, and many other organisations, to protect and enhance the island’s biodiversity.

If you have an ecological community project idea, would like to get involved or simply want to stay in the loop, sign up to the Ecology Vision updates, by emailing taryn@sustainableaotea.co.nz or calling 09 429 0626

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