Volunteers – the beating heart of the Karioi Project

Setting off into the forest with a pack full of bait and spare rat traps is just a normal day in the life of volunteer-turned-ranger Lenny Reynolds. 

Growing up in Wh.ingaroa, Lenny got involved with the Karioi Project from an early age, joining the after-school education programme as a junior ranger and developing his conservation skills as a teenager through the Manaaki Ao (Earthcare) programme. 

He volunteered to adopt a trapline which he checked regularly for predators like rats and stoats. 

Six years later Lenny’s still checking his trapline – and now working as a part-time ranger while he finishes his studies in ecology and biodiversity at Waikato University. 

“I love it – I get to go out, look at cool things, constantly learning and networking with like-minded people, not to mention the health and wellbeing benefits of being outside in nature,” says Lenny. 

It’s thanks to volunteers like Lenny and many others that the Karioi Project can operate. There are more than a hundred regular volunteers, checking over 2500 traps every fortnight, and helping out in one-off events like bait-fills and working bees. 

Their efforts ensure that precious, local native fauna like the .i, koror., ruru, kerer., k.rearea, k.k. and pekapeka can successfully breed each year. 

Volunteer coordinator Jasmine Edgar says volunteers are the beating heart of the Karioi Project. 

“I know sometimes people wonder how one person can make a difference, but when you’ve got a hundred volunteers, catching thousands of rats and possums, that makes such a huge difference for our forests and wildlife.” 

Get involved: -Our next trap-building working bee is on Sunday the 26th of November (contact karioi.backyard@arocha.org for more info). -Want to learn more about volunteering? Get in touch with our coordinator Jasmine (jasmine.edgar@arocha.org) 

These stories are made possible thanks to the support of the Wahinemoe. 

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