Become an Environmental Scientist with the City Nature Challenge!

Finish off the school holidays in environmental style by taking part in the City Nature Challenge this weekend! From Friday 30 April to Monday 3 May, Wellington will be transformed into a giant nature playground — and you will be turned into scientists, should you choose to take up the challenge of embarking on a four-day bioblitz!

WCC gardener photographing a plant using the iNaturalist app at a Wellington City garden.

Nate Rigler, WCC gardener, investigating some local flora! Photo credit: Tim Park.

So what is the City Nature Challenge? It’s a global event that sees people from over 250 cities across the world search for, report, and log any sightings of wild plants, creatures, or organisms, living or dead, on the land, up the mountains, and in the sea — and around our backyards.

It’s super easy to get involved using the iNaturalist app (free on the app store). Join the Wellington City Nature Challenge group, go for a walk in the city (looking out for local flora and fauna as you go!) and when you spot something cool, upload it to the app. There are prizes to be won and a natural environment to be discovered, so pick up a flyer from your local library, or head over to the City Nature Challenge website, to find out more!

If nature is your kind of thing, Wellington City Libraries has a huge range of books and other resources on the topic. Use the following links to find books on our catalogue about various topics relating to the plants, animals, and environment of New Zealand — or use the Dewey Decimal numbers to help you search the shelves the next time you visit the library!

Here are some that you might find particularly useful as you participate in the City Nature Challenge this weekend:

New Zealand nature heroes / Candler, Gillian
“New Zealand Nature Heroes is designed to inspire and empower New Zealand kids to be naturalists and conservationists. Aimed at the 8-12 age range, the book features stories of 15 different nature heroes, people who, in the past, or currently, are working to protect and understand New Zealand’s natural world. These inspirational profiles are complemented with information about key animals, plants or habitats, and then each matched with an authentic activity that kids can do to make a difference.” (Catalogue)

A New Zealand nature journal / Morris, Sandra
“A New Zealand Nature Journal will teach you how to keep a nature journal to record your amazing discoveries. Have you ever noticed that ladybirds have different numbers of spots? Or that leaves can be pointed or round, long or short, soft or hard? There is so much to explore in the natural world. And keeping a nature journal is the best way to record all your amazing discoveries.” (Catalogue)

New Zealand birds in pictures / Chen, Kimball
“From the barely-visible wings of the flightless kiwi to the immense wingspan of the wandering albatross, New Zealand’s fragile island ecosystem is home to a diverse array of spectacular birds. Delve into the fascinating world of our feathered friends with author and wildlife photographer Kimball Chen. From intimate portraits of endangered creatures and their glamorous breeding plumage, to dramatic wide-angle birdscapes encompassing rugged sub-antarctic habitats, to magical fleeting encounters of birds courting and mating and hatching, Chen’s passion for nature shines with artistic and aesthetic photographs sure to pique a greater appreciation of New Zealand birds. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The life-size guide to insects & other land vertebrates of New Zealand / Crowe, Andrew
“Identifying New Zealand’s insects, spiders and other land invertebrates is made simple with this new guide. Over 300 life-size colour photographs make it fun for all the family to learn more about the natural world of New Zealand.” (Catalogue)

The life-size guide to native trees and other common plants of New Zealand’s native forest / Crowe, Andrew
“Identifying native trees and other common plants of New Zealand’s native forest can be fun for all the family with this new pictorial guide. Match leaves, flowers, seeds, berries and bark against beautiful, life-sized photographs for fast, accurate identification. Written by one of New Zealand’s foremost writers on native plants, The Life-Size Guide offers a new opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world of our native plants.” (Catalogue)

Wildlife of Aotearoa / Bishop, Gavin
“Long before waka touched Aotearoa’s shores, the land of the long white cloud was home to an array of creatures uniquely adapted to its environments and protected by its isolation. Encounter New Zealand’s incredible wildlife in this spectacular visual exploration. Journey through ocean, sky and land to meet a marvellous range of organisms. Discover fascinating facts, and learn how we influence the survival of our living treasures. In this magnificent companion volume to Aotearoa- The New Zealand Story, Gavin Bishop weaves a compelling visual narrative of our land, our people and our wildlife – past, present and future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What do we do with all that poo?

All living creatures poo! Big ones like elephants do big poos, and little ones like ants do tiny poos, and human beings are somewhere in the middle! There a lots of more scientific terms for poo: ‘faeces’, ‘stool’ or ‘bowel movement’, and ‘scat’ is the term for the poo of a wild animal.

But why do we have to poo, what is it, and where does it all go when you flush the toilet?

Flush Toilet Illustrations And Hand Hygiene clipart drawing free imageThe purpose of poo is to remove waste from your body – especially the leftover bits of food that your body can’t use, such as fruit pips and vegetable skins. About 75% (three quarters) of a typical poo is water. The water helps to make the poo soft so it can get out of the body easily. The rest of the poo consists of broken-down body cells, fat and minerals and leftover food waste (those fruit pips and vege skins mentioned above). But did you know that your poos are alive?? Your intestines contain billions of bacteria that help digest food. When the bacteria come out in poo, about half of them are still alive. The live bacteria can make you ill if they get into your stomach. This is why poo can be harmful, and you have to flush it away and wash your hands.

The sewage / wastewater journey

Treatment plant at Moa Point.

Image: Treatment plant at Moa Point. Courtesy Wellington.govt.nz

Once you’ve flushed the toilet, this then becomes sewage. Sewage (or wastewater) is from all our sinks, toilets, laundries, kitchens and bathrooms. This waste flows through a network of underground pipes and pumping stations to one of the treatment plants in Wellington. There are two sewage treatment plants in Wellington – Moa Point and the Western Treatment Plant (Karori) – and a sludge treatment plant at the Southern Landfill.

At the Moa Point Treatment Plant, sewage travels through a series of screens, and tanks before being discharged as liquid into Cook Strait.

  • Non-organic – large materials such as toilet paper are first removed using screens. This rubbish is washed and compressed and sent to the Southern Landfill for disposal.
  • Solid sewage (sludge) – as sewage travels through the tanks, the majority of solids are removed. This sludge is taken to the Southern Landfill Sludge Treatment Plant where it is de-watered (water removed from solids).
  • Effluent – a series of tanks  use a combination of sedimentation and bacteria to decompose almost 70% of  material. Remaining liquid effluent is exposed to ultraviolet light (such as the sun) to destroy any harmful bacteria. The treated liquid is finally discharged, through a long outfall pipe, 1.8km into Cook Strait.

Here’s a really good flow chart that explains the process in more detail:

The Treatment Process


FAQs

Stinky Face Cliparts - Bad Smell Png , Free Transparent Clipart - ClipartKeyQ: Why is poo brown?
A: The brown colour comes from bilirubin, a chemical made from dead red blood cells.

Q: Why does poo smell?
A: The smell mainly comes from bacteria, and the gases and chemicals they release.

Q: Why does everyone think that poo is gross?
A:  We have evolved to find the look and smell of poo disgusting. this makes us avoid it, helping to keep us safe from infection and germs.


So if you’re not too grossed out by now, Wellington City Libraries have loads of books for all ages about this rather stinky subject! Here’s just a few…

You wouldn’t want to live without poo! / Woolf, Alex
“Learn the surprising truth about just how important poo really is: it keeps our bodies healthy, and can also be used to power our cars, heat our homes and help grow our crops.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Poo in the zoo / Smallman, Steve
“Zoo Keeper Bob is exhausted. There’s too much poo in the zoo – and he’s the one who has to scoop it up. Then one day, a mysterious glowing poo appears! Could it be alien poop from outer space? And what on EARTH will Bob do with it?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

My amazing poo plant / Simons, Moya
“Emma can’t have a pet as she lives in an apartment. Her mum loves pot plants and encourages Emma to think of having a plant as a pet. Emma isn’t interested until one day, when a low-flying bird drops a poo in an empty plant pot and her mum tells her if she waters it a poo plant might grow from the seeds in the bird’s dropping. Emma enters her poo plant into the most unusual pet category of her class pet show.” (Catalogue)

What do they do with all that poo? / Kurtz, Jane
“There are so many different kinds of animals at the zoo, and they each make lots of poo. So what do zoos do with all of that poo? This zany, fact-filled romp explores zoo poo and all of the places it ends up, including in science labs and elephant-poo paper–even backyard gardens!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The clue is in the poo and other stuff too / Seed, Andy
“A funny and fascinating natural history of animal droppings, tracks and other traces, exploring what we can learn about animals from what they leave behind. Fully-illustrated and in a large format, this will be a visually appealing book for any child with an interest in animals and nature.” (Catalogue)

Loos save lives : how sanitation and clean water help prevent poverty, disease and death / Boyd, Seren
“Who knew toilets were so interesting – and so important? You probably use a toilet several times every day. Flush, turn on the tap, wash your hands – then forget all about it. But did you know that 2.4 billion people across the world don’t have somewhere they can go to the toilet safely, and over 1 billion people don’t have access to any kind of sanitation or clean water at all? Poor sanitation and restricted access to a toilet is more serious than you might think. It prevents children (and especially girls) from going to school, it means communities may have to walk miles to access safe drinking water and it kills. Poor sanitation means poor hygiene, which means illnesses and viruses are more easily spread. Going to the toilet out in the open makes people vulnerable and puts them in danger.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Everybody poos / Gomi, Tarō
“All living things do different sorts of poo. Some are different colours, others have different smells or sizes. Some do it on land, some poo in water. This children’s book has a no-nonsense approach to the bodily function to encourage children not to be ashamed about potty training.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

13 New Non Fiction that will leave you spellbound!

Hey Kids!

There are only a couple of weeks left of spring. Why not spring on down to your local library and check out the latest new junior non fiction!

Read books where you can learn languages with Sesame Street, get spellbound with Harry Potter, read how Maui slowed the sun in English and Te Reo, get your STEAM on and so much more!

Enjoy!


Amazing Inventions.

Odd Science: Inventions is filled with weird and wacky facts that you’ve never heard before. Read about the trainers made of spider silk, wonder at the first record played in space and tell your friends about the robot built in 1937. There are facts about electricity being used as glue, facts about glow-in-the-dark cats and facts about nano-robots that can ‘swim’ inside the body during biopsies!

 


Video Game Creators.

With full-color illustrations and lively text, and chock-full of interesting facts, Awesome Minds: Video Game Creators tells the stories of these amazing men and women who turned a small hobby into a multimillion-dollar industry that changed the way we play and interact, from our living rooms to the arcades, on our computers to our hand-held devices. Awesome Minds: Video Game Creators is the perfect read for those with creative spirits, curious minds, and a love of technology and video games– Provided by publisher.

 


Learn a language with Sesame Street!

Welcome to Mandarin Chinese.

Sesame characters help readers learn Mandarin so they can connect with friends who speak the language. Welcoming words relating to everyday life and friendship give readers new language tools to become smarter, kinder friends.

 


Welcome to French.

Sesame Street characters help readers connect to new friends who speak French. Simple words and phrases relating to everyday life and a colorful approach help readers learn a new language to become smarter, kinder friends.

 


Welcome to German.

Sesame Street characters help readers learn German so they can connect with friends who speak the language. Welcoming words relating to everyday life and friendship give readers new language tools to become smarter, kinder friends.

 


Tales of Aotearoa: How Maui Slowed the Sun in English and Te Reo!

Re-tells the story of how Maui slowed the journey of the sun through the sky each day.

 

 

 

 


Wilma Rudolph.

Read all about Wilma Rudolph, the remarkable sprinter and Olympic champion. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the athlete’s life.

 


Brilliant Bodies.

Prepare to laugh, marvel and learn with Brilliant Bodies. Jam packed full of facts about elements, organs, hair, feet and so much more!

 

 


Game logic : level up and create your own games with science activities for kids.

This book takes kids on a journey to discover the history of games, and then leads them from their initial idea for a new game through several iterations of a game all the way to playing the final version of a game they created. Explore the processes of both playing and creating games while developing critical and creative thinking skills that apply to tasks and concepts across academic fields. — adapted from back cover.

 


The Unofficial Harry Potter Spell book.

The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook is a beautiful, elegantly designed reference that details all of the known spells cast in the Harry Potter films, books, video games and card games, as well as official Harry Potter spinoffs, such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Each spell is given its own entry including spell name, pronunciation details, a description of the spell effect, spell casting methods, wand movements, hand movements and vocalizations, plus primary sources in which the spell was used. Readers will also find trivia related to each spell, such as who it was used against, what the outcome was, or what a spell’s unusual history might be. There are more than 200 spells in all, plus suggestions for strategic spell use and methods for creating original spells.

 


Never too young! : 50 unstoppable kids who made a difference.

“Meet 50 super-inspiring kids! It’s never too early–and you’re never too young– to make a difference in the world! The amazing musicians, writers, scientists, athletes, activists, and other fascinating kids in this book accomplished great feats by the age of eighteen. They impacted people’s lives by coming up with new inventions, making art and music, competing in sports, and speaking out about important issues. Let their incredible stories inspire you to follow your dreams, achieve your goals, and strive for greatness now!”–Back cover.

 

 


Harry Potter. Spells & charms : a movie scrapbook.

Packed with inserts, concept illustrations, and behind-the-scenes photography, Harry Potter: Spells and Charms: A Movie Scrapbook is a guide to the spells and incantations of the Harry Potter films. A must-have collectible for all Harry Potter fans.


5 New Non Fiction from the ‘DK findout!’ series, lego, coding and augmented reality.

Hey Kids!

Check out the latest new non fiction at Wellington City Libraries. Lots of cool books about from the DK findout! series, lego, coding and augmented reality. Enjoy!

image courtesy of syndeticsBrick by Brick dinosaurs.

Brick by Brick dinosaurs will teach you how to build more that 15 amazing prehistoric projects, with clearly illustrated step-by-step instructions. An ideal book for anyone who loves lego and dinosaurs.

 

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsCoding for kids : create your own videogames with Scratch.

Explains how to use the programming language Scratch to create computer games, presenting projects that can be altered as young readers gain proficiency.

 

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsWorld War I.

Have you ever wanted to find out how the First World War began? Or how soldiers lived and fought in trenches? This book from the DKfindout! series is packed with surprising facts and amazing pictures for World War 1. It’s a small book filled with big ideas. — Cover.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsHuman Body.

Look inside your brilliant body with DK’s brand new human body book. DKfindout! Human Body will satisfy any child who is eager to learn and acquire facts – and keep them coming back for more! From gooey gastric juices, to our amazing brains, and everything in the human body in-between, this book will give kids the understanding they crave about how our bodies work. DKfindout! Human Body explains the complex systems like digestion that keep us ticking over, and will satisfy any budding biologist.DKfindout! Human Body will surprise and delight young readers aged 6 to 9.

 

image courtesy of syndeticsMicromonsters.

“IExplore Micro Monsters is an amazing book that reveals the tiny creatures all around us that are normally invisible to the human eye. Marvel at these incredible mini monsters – and watch as Digital Magic makes them leap off the page! Fact-filled spreads give the reader background information on each tiny beast: where it’s found, what it does and how it survives in even the harshest conditions, from skin cells to outer space! Then simply open the app on your smartphone or tablet to trigger the AR action and awaken the Digital Magic. The book comes to life using the latest technology of augmented reality with the free app. All you need is a smartphone or tablet.”–bookdepository.com.

New Non Fiction: Back to School numbers.

Welcome to Term 3! I hope you all had a fantastic break over the school holidays.  Here are some new junior non fiction to help you catch up on your school work.
image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsWhy do reptiles have scales? : and other questions about evolution and classification. 
Wildlife wonders? You better believe it. This book covers anything and everything you want/need to know about the classification and evolution of reptiles and how they have adapted to survive the ever changing environment. This is a great book to use for biology projects and homework. Great for Primary and Intermediate level.

You might also want to check out Why do Plants have flowers? and other questions about evolution and classification. Lots of amazing facts about the evolution and classification of plants, like you find out the age of a tree by counting the rings beneath the bark and apparently find out which flower smells of rotting meat – Whoa!. A great resource to sue for horticulture projects and homework.

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndeticsIt’s time for Animaths! It’s time to improve your maths sssskills by looking at Shapes with Snakes. Become a “roaring” success with maths by Taking Away with Tigers and some maths ant-ics by looking at Adding with Ants.

These books are great to use to introduce young children to simple key maths concepts with the use of  cut out photos of animals. These books are sure to engage the interest of reluctant mathematicians.

 

 

 

All about the Commonwealthimage courtesy of syndetics

According to WikipediaThe Commonwealth of Nations, commonly known as the Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth),  is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states (including New Zealand) that were mostly territories of the former British Empire, with some notable exceptions. The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat, and non-governmental organisations, organised through the Commonwealth Foundation.

Luckily for the library, we now have a junior non fiction book jam packed with information about the Commonwealth. This informative, fact-packed guide also tells you all about the history and the aims of the Commonwealth since its foundation in 1931. Did you know New Zealand is one of the 53 countries led by HM Queen Elizabeth II? A great book to use for Social Studies homework.

 

 

 

image courtesy of syndeticsCool Kids Cook.

Ready for another back to school number that will help you ace Home Economics and allow you to unleash your inner Gordon Ramsey-Jaime Oliver- Nigella Lawson-Chelsea Winter? Donna Hay has released a cookbook for kids. Donna Hay for kids?! How cool is that! Check out the awesome cookbook, catered for cool kids that contains over 40 fun and simple recipes for kids to make for family and friends to enjoy. Found a few tasty numbers like spaghetti bolognese, sausage rolls, chicken noodle soup, cup cakes and chocolate moose. Wow,  I wish I had this book when I was doing Home Economics at school.

 

 

 

image courtesy of knight academy blog

Encyclopedia of the human body : begin to discover the human body.

Got a biology project coming up on the human body? This back to school number can help.  The Encyclopedia of the human body will allow you to discover information about how the human body and anatomy works. You will discover and learn everything from how blood flows through the heart, to how food is digested and where your voice comes from… hmmm!  This is the kind of book that makes *physiology look cool and screams AMAZING!

 

*Physiology: The branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts.