Leading the way for the next generation of conservationists

Publish Date : 27 Sep 2019
Leading the new generation in conservation - Trapping
Setting up a trap in Hosking Reserve.
Leading the new generation in conservation - Group shot
Members of Forest & Bird Youth after setting up traps to control rat and possum populations.

For many of us, university was when we first aligned ourselves with a cause.

For Connor Wallace, a Massey University student from Auckland's North Shore, his fervour for conservation started a lot earlier.

"I've always been passionate about conservation," he says before explaining that this passion started after his parents signed him up for Forest & Bird's Kiwi Conservation Club.

Kiwi Conservation Club have been around for over 30 years and aim to connect New Zealand kids with the environment and wildlife around them.

A few years later, while at junior high school, Connor became involved with Auckland Council's Make a Difference (MAD) programme which focuses on helping Auckland's teenagers create a sustainable future for themselves.

Now, he chairs Forest & Bird Youth, a conservation group for people aged 14 to 25 years. The group was set up by Forest & Bird to entice youth to become involved in conservation.

Leading the new generation in conservation
Connor Wallace with Sian, Forest & Bird Youth's national team co-coordinator.

For the past two years, Connor has led the group in their restoration efforts out at Albany's Hosking Reserve in partnership with Auckland Council and the Upper Harbour Local Board.

They've performed several bird counts there as well as active pest control.

Work will continue through 2020 with several public planting days.

"I've been very fortunate to get opportunities and support from Auckland Council and Forest & Bird," he explains of his conservation career to date.

Connor adds: "The main thing I think people should know is that conservation isn't just for conservationists, it's for everyone. Having a conservation mindset should be the norm." 

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