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Hundreds visit Nelson’s native sanctuary open day

VIRGINIA WOOLF/STUFF Georgia Sands, left, and Sally Mains enjoy the views at the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary open day on the Founders’ Bridge, constructed in 2019 across the big dam to complete the sanctuary’s loop track.

Nelson’s haven for native wildlife had an open day that “exceeded expectations” with more than 1300 visitors.

The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary opened its gates free of charge on Sunday, encouraging young and old to experience the pest-free environment flourishing with birdlife.

There were a range of other attractions, including a kids fun run, treasure hunts, puppet shows, bird box building and educational displays about birds and insects.

The sanctuary’s visitor centre and volunteer co-ordinator, Kirsten Roedsgaard-Mathiesen, said the day had “absolutely exceeded expectations”, with numbers nearly doubling the previous open day of 712. The team stopped counting at 1309 on Sunday.

VIRGINIA WOOLF/NELSON MAIL Three-year-old Emmett Hirst listens to bird songs in an interactive display at The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary open day.

She said there were many positive comments about the 691-hectare sanctuary, including from those who had never visited and were amazed by the scenery on Nelson’s back doorstep.

“It’s usually like this, especially from people who have never been here before; they come out overwhelmed of the beauty of the place.”

A predator-resistant fence stretches 14.4 kilometres around the sanctuary, costing $4.2 million when it was completed in 2016. The normal admission price to visit the sanctuary is $8 for adults from within the region and $15 for other visitors.

VIRGINIA WOOLF/NELSON MAIL Runners take off at the start of the 2km Redwood Fun Run event during The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary open day.

Roedsgaard-Mathiesen said it would be great for people to consider becoming annual members, with a family membership priced at $100 and an individual at $50 for entry during open hours.

Several tracks snake their way through bush, over bridges and river crossings, with walks ranging in length and the entire track taking four hours.

Source: Stuff |


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