View Finders Photo Competition

This April School Holidays, tell us a story by taking a photo!

From the 16th of April to the 1st of May, we’re running View Findersa photo competition for tamariki and rangatahi across Wellington City. There are heaps of cool prizes to be won — and a special exhibition to take part in at the end!

We’re taking submissions in three categories: Nature, Whānau, and Objects/Books, and in two age groups, 5-12 and 13-18.

Don’t forget to check out our special View Finders Beanstack Challenge to earn spot prizes, log your reading, and do some simple activities to get your photography skills into top gear for the competition!

Submissions for View Finders are now closed! We will be announcing the winners on the 13th of May — keep an eye on this blog for updates!

Nature:

Take a picture of something that blows your mind in a local park, down at the beach, or high in the hills! See what flora and fauna you can discover in the great outdoors of Aotearoa.

While you’re out and about, you might want to check out iNaturalist NZ – Mātaki Taiao, which is an app that you can use to record what you see in the natural world! There is also an annual City Nature Challenge for Pōneke/Wellington where us locals can make a big effort to see what we can find!

Whānau:

In a literal sense, whānau means family in Te Reo Māori, and is based on shared whakapapa and descent from a common ancestor.

Whānau is also used by non-Māori to talk about their family. Sometimes, Whānau is used to describe groups of people who come together bound by a common purpose, this could also be called whānau ā kaupapa.

So, for our photo competition, you can take a picture that tells a story about your family, or you can take a broader view of whānau to tell a story about a team or group you are involved in, or even a group of friends.

Objects or Books:

Tell us a story about a physical object that is important to you. It could be a cherished toy, or your comfiest couch! Maybe the object would even be a book (we do love books at the library!) With ComicFest coming up on May 7th, you could find a creative way to photograph your favourite comic book, maybe by putting it in a funny or unexpected location!


View Finders

Get your phone, tablet, or camera at the ready!


You can enter once per category. If anyone else appears in your photo, make sure you have permission to share it with us.

We look forward to seeing your photos and hearing the story behind them! You may want to display your photo at your local branch library at the end of the competition.

Special thanks to our friends at Splendid Photo, who are helping us to judge the competition, and Ben & Jerry’s Wellington, Light House Cinema, and Unity Books, who are kindly providing us with spot prizes to give away. Ka rawe!

Too Precious to Lose: Celebrating our Forests

Kahikitea Forest, West Coast NZ. Image: Sue Jane

Tuesday 21 March marks International Day of Forests. The 2022 theme is

“Too Precious to Lose”

which I think we can all agree is a very good theme! We often take trees, forests and natural areas for granted, but without them we simply wouldn’t survive. Trees are truly amazing (a word I’ll use often in this post!) 🙂

Here are some fun facts about our amazing trees:

  • Forests influence and slow climate change mainly by affecting the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • An average mature tree can absorb almost 36% of rainfall it comes in contact with.
  • Forests are helpful in improving water quality by extracting pollutants through tree roots.
  • More than ¼ of all medicines we use originate in rainforests.
  • The largest tree-dwelling mammal is the orang-utan.
  • The General Sherman Giant Redwood Tree is the largest in the world at 1,487 cubic metres. A coast redwood from California is the tallest tree in the world with an incredible height of 115.61 metres. It is called Hyperion.
  • Forests are home to 80% of the world’s land-based biodiversity – the variety of living things in any given place – with more than 60,000 tree species alone.
  • Forests cycle water between the soil and the atmosphere and help make rain
  • Trees also produce oxygen for us to breathe.

Weird but true!

Trees actually talk to each other! Not in the way we think about ‘talking’, but scientists believe there’s enough evidence to show that there is communication going on in the forests. Scientists have nicknamed this phenomenon “The Wood-Wide Web“! Here’s an interesting vid that explains all:

How can I help save the trees?

You can help protect our forests. When you visit a forest be sure to keep all of your rubbish with you, keep on the tracks to avoid damaging plants, roots, and spreading diseases and get your hands dirty by volunteering to plant, weed, or control pests.


Wellington City Libraries have lots of resources to help you with your quest to protect our trees. Follow these simple steps on our website to find out more:

1. Click on Kids’ Search from the search drop-down on the Wellington City Libraries landing page

 

2. Scroll down to “Explore New Zealand topics” and find “Nature”. Click on each button to find lots of library resources that have been gathered together by our librarians. Enjoy!


Trees are AMAZING! Why not explore further with these resources from our catalogue:

The wonder of trees / Davies, Nicola
“Did you know that there are over 60,000 tree species? This stunning book explores the extraordinary diversity of trees and forests – the lungs of our earth. A glorious celebration of trees by non-fiction specialist Nicola Davies, illustrated by rising star Lorna Scobie, creators of the beautiful THE VARIETY OF LIFE. There is something to delight on every page with fascinating facts and figures. This exquisite book will encourage children to treasure the world’s biodiversity and help to stop it slipping away.” (Catalogue)
Deep roots : how trees sustain our planet / Tate, Nikki
“Presents facts about trees, explaining how they maintain a vibrant ecosystem and provide food, fuel, and shelter for people across the globe.” (Catalogue)
Trees : kings of the forest / Hirsch, Andy
“In Trees we follow an acorn as it learns about its future as Earth’s largest, longest-living plant. Starting with the seed’s germination, we learn about each stage until the tree’s maturation, different types of trees, and the roles trees take on in our ecosystem.” (Catalogue)
The wisdom of trees : how trees work together to form a natural kingdom / Judge, Lita
“A lyrical and informational nonfiction picture book that tells the story of trees and the hidden ecosystems they create” (Catalogue)
The giving tree / Silverstein, Shel
“A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return. Suggested level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

Earthkids: New Zealand conservation stories, activities and games by Andrew CroweEarthkids : New Zealand conservation stories, activities and games / Crowe, Andrew
“Describes efforts by New Zealanders to protect the environment and wildlife. Includes puzzles, quizzes and projects such as making a bird feeder, paper, a mobile and more. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Bee Aware – Feed the Bees This September

Feed the bees! banner courtesy of Apiculture NZ

September is “Bee Aware Month” in New Zealand. For Bee Aware Month 2021, we are being asked to ‘Feed the Bees’ by planting bee-friendly trees and plants.

According to Apiculture NZ, who look after bees and beekeepers in Aotearoa, “planting for bees is a fantastic way to look after nature’s tiniest superheroes as they keep our gardens, food crops and native bush growing.” As they busily buzz around the plants and flowers looking for food for themselves and their hives, they also help to pollinate the plants so that fruit, veges and crops continue to grow and thrive. Humans simply cannot survive without these amazing insects to keep our food on the table. Superheroes indeed!

Some plants are better sources of nectar and pollen than others.  And some plants produce nectar and pollen at times when there is not a lot else around for bees to feed on.

Don’t know what to plant? Some awesome ideas from Apiculture NZ include plants such as rosemary, sunflowers, harakeke, and citrus fruits!

bunch of sunflowers



Want to find out more?

Here’s a bee-friendly gardening guide to get you started

Learn about bees

Products made by bees

Fun activities and competitions

The Bee Aware BIG BEE QUIZ

The Bee Aware month Art Competition


And yes, you guessed it, Wellington City Libraries have got LOADS of books crammed full of facts about bees, gardening for bees and fiction bee books… so we’ve included some suggestions for you and the adults in your lives:

BEE BOOKS FOR KIDSHoneybee on Google Android 12.0

The secret life of bees / Butterfield, Moira
“Did you know that bees love to dance? Or that they have an amazing sense of smell to help them find the best flowers? In The Secret Life of Bees, Buzzwing shares with you all the details of her life as a bee, in and out of the hive, starting with the day she was born.” (Catalogue)
The book of bees / Socha, Piotr
“How do bees communicate? What does a beekeeper do? Did you know that Napoleon loved bees? Who survived being stung by 2,443 bees? This book answers all these questions and many more, tracking the history of bees from the time of the dinosaurs to their current plight.” (Catalogue)
Sunflower shoots and muddy boots : a child’s guide to gardening / Halligan, Katherine
“Packed with brilliant indoor and outdoor gardening activities, this is the perfect introduction to growing plants for little children and grown-ups to enjoy together.” (Catalogue)
Give bees a chance / Barton, Bethany
“In this nonfiction picture book an enthusiastic bee-loving narrator tries to convince a bee-phobic friend that our fuzzy, flying neighbours are our friends– we should all give bees a chance!” (Catalogue)
Why do we need bees? / Daynes, Katie
“Why do we need bees? How do they make honey? And who’s who in a beehive? Children can find the answers to these questions and many more in this informative lift-the-flap book. With colourful illustrations, simple text and chunky flaps to lift, young children can discover lots of amazing facts about bees and why they need our help.” (Catalogue)
The very clever bee / Marshall, Felicity
“A non-fiction illustrated book about bees, their life-cycle, pollination, and benefits for humans. Written for children 6 years and upwards.” (Catalogue)
How to bee / MacDibble, Bren
“Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known, and all Peony’s grit and quick thinking might not be enough to keep her safe. How To Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.” (Catalogue)


BEE BOOKS FOR ADULTSHoneybee on Google Android 12.0

The bee friendly garden : easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow / Purdie, Doug
“A grower’s handbook to attracting bees and other beneficial insects. The Bee Friendly Garden is a guide for all gardeners great and small to encouraging bees and other good bugs to your green space…Includes: – How bees forage and why your garden needs them – A comprehensive plant guide to bee friendly plants – Simple changes anybody can make – Ideas for gardens of all sizes – Natural pest control and companion planting advice.” (Catalogue)


Planting for honeybees : the grower’s guide to creating a buzz / Lewis, Sarah Wyndham
“Our gardens would be unrecognizable without the gentle buzz of the humble honeybee. Yet in recent years bee populations have suffered from th loss of green spaces and need our help. Planting for Honeybees is a charmingly illustrated, practical guide on how to help attract these delightful pollinators – whether you only have a city window ledge or a whole country garden. With advice on the blooms to grow, and when and where to plant them, this book reveals the tips and tricks to creating a buzz and a better future for our apian friends.” (Catalogue)

The history of bees / Lunde, Maja
“In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees–and to their children and one another–against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis. England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive–one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity” (Catalogue)

The beekeeper of Aleppo / Lefteri, Christy
“Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.” (Catalogue)

Conservation Week 2021: 4 – 12 September

Conservation Week: Get involved

Conservation Week 2021. Image courtesy of Department of Conservation.

Conservation Week 2021 is from Saturday 4 September – Sunday 12 September.

The theme this year is a simple one – “Take a moment to notice nature”.

So get outside and feel connected to the world. It can be as simple as stopping to listen to the birds singing, helping in the garden, walking with the whānau or taking your dog for a walk and noticing the natural world all around us.

But of course, if you’re still at Alert Level 3 or 4, you’ll need to stay in your bubbles and stay safe. BUT there are still loads of activities to help you learn and feel comfortable in nature that you can do at any alert level:

Kids Outside: You can enjoy nature wherever you are. From your window, balcony, backyard or on your local neighbourhood walk.

40 ka pai things to do outside: Getting outside makes us feel good. Rain or shine, there’s heaps of fun you can have right outside your backdoor. From playing hide and seek, to watching the stars and jumping in puddles. Check out the activities in the above link.

Birdwatching with the family: Birdwatching is a great way to discover what is truly special about our natural world and our country. Taking time to get to know the birds around us is a wonderful way to build respect and compassion for nature and all living things. Here’s a handy 10 common birds in your area link to get you started.

Gardening for kids: Getting outside and getting your hands dirty in the soil is so good for you! It also teaches you a love of nature and the environment, where food comes from, how to care for plants, and the joy of reaching a goal. Here are some ideas to get you outside and in the garden.

And here are a couple of nature-based ideas where you can still enjoy the great outdoors, even if you can’t get there in person:

Digital Treasure Hunt Competition: Take a moment to discover nature virtually this Conservation Week with DOC’s Digital Treasure Hunt. The competition is open now and closes 5 pm on 9 September 2021.

Virtual Hub: Take a moment to notice nature:  Enjoy a virtual walk and soak in the views on the Kepler Track, or experience kākāpō and erect-crested penguins through the eyes of DOC rangers and scientists.


Wellington City Libraries have lots of e-resources that you can access right now to help with your nature exploration. Here’s just a few to get you started:

Overdrive cover 101 Small Ways to Change the World, Lonely Planet Kids; Aubre Andrus (ebook)

It’s hard to believe that you could change the world, but it’s true! We’ll show you loads of awesome ways to help out family, friends, yourself and the planet – and show how you’re never too young to make a big difference. Includes random acts of kindness, craft projects, energy-saving ideas and much more.

101 Small Ideas to Change the World is a practical, fun and creative book to inspire you at home, school and in your local community and beyond! Remember, all big ideas start with just one person who decides to do things differently. You could be that person. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, Liz Lee Heinecke (ebook)

Learn physics, chemistry, and biology in your own backyard! In Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, scientist and mom Liz Heinecke has created 52 family-friendly labs designed to get you and yours outside in every season.
From playground physics to backyard bugs, this book makes it fun and easy to dig into the natural sciences and learn more about the world around you (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Wild In the City, Lonely Planet Kids;Kate Baker (ebook)

Discover the secret lives of more than 30 extraordinary creatures that share our cities. From red foxes sneaking rides on London buses to leopards prowling the backstreets of Mumbai, this book explores the clever ways animals have adapted to the urban environment and explains how you can help protect our wild neighbours.

Crammed with buildings, traffic and people, urban spaces are the last place you’d expect to see wildlife. But all kinds of animals live alongside us in the hidden corners of our towns and cities – from teeny ants living under pavement cracks to pick-pocketing monkeys and spotted hyenas being fed by locals. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Square Foot Gardening with Kids, Mel Bartholomew (ebook)

Mel Bartholomew’s top-selling Square Foot Gardening books have made his revolutionary garden system available to millions of people.
In Square Foot Gardening with Kids, Mel reveals his tips, tricks, and fun projects in one of his most cherished pursuits: teaching youngsters to build and grow a SFG of their own.
The easy geometry of the gridded box breaks the complex world of gardening into digestible bites for enthusiastic young learners, and the sequence of tasks required to grow plants from seeds is repeatable and reassuring.
Kids learn many valuable life lessons when tending their own garden — such as the importance of following instructions and doing your chores, basic skills like counting and water conservation, and learning to appreciate the nature of food and why it is important to respect it. Most importantly though, they learn that growing your own food is both fun and rewarding. (Overdrive description)


Overdrive cover Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Greening Up Spaces, Megan Kopp (ebook)

Creative readers with a green thumb and an eye for design will be inspired to create their own gardening and landscaping projects in unique spaces. From vertical gardens to urban parklets, this title will motivate readers to “green up” spaces in their communities in a way that promotes environmental awareness, collaboration, and group planning. Profiles of innovators and their green creations encourage readers to embrace their own ideas and create their Maker visions. (Overdrive description)



“When Papatūānuku thrives, we all thrive.” 

Department of Conservation

 

5 New Non Fiction to Read During Winter

Hey kids! Check out the latest new non fiction at your local library. Books featured in this post range from animals; buildings, trees and what it takes to be a Jedi! Just in time for the winteriest time of the year!

Enjoy!


image courtesy of syndeticsStar Wars Use The Force!: Discover What It Takes To Be A Jedi.

A fun, non-fiction chapter book where children can learn all about the Jedi. So, you want to learn what it takes to be a Jedi? Are you sure? Star Wars: Use the Force takes you on a thrilling, fact-filled and fun journey that shows what it really takes to be a Jedi. For ages 6+.


image courtesy of syndeticsThe Secret Life of Trees: Explore The Forests Of The World, With Oakheart The Brave.

Listen to ancient tales from Oakheart the Brave, the oldest and wisest tree in the forest, and be inspired by the magic and mystery of nature. Combining non-fiction with a splash of fantasy, this is a book you will get lost in, time and again.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Not Bad Animals.

A funny non-fiction book starring misunderstood animals from around the world. Children will learn facts about a collection of different creatures as Sophie Corrigan’s unique artwork and hilarious text dispels facts about animals who have been given a bad rep! Ages 5-10.

image courtesy of syndeticsBuilding A Home.

A non-fiction picture book packed with action and vehicles for children who enjoy discovering how things are made. With action-packed artwork from Klas Fahlen and a gentle narrative text by Polly Faber, find out all about the people, machines, processes and tools involved in breathing new life into an old building. For ages 4+.

image courtesy of syndeticsAnimal antics.

Have you ever wondered how ants carry up to 50 times their body weight? Or why sloths move so slowly? Discover the answers to these questions and more as you laugh along at the hilarious pictures in this fun non-fiction book for kids. Animal Antics is jam-packed with funny photos of animals in action. Look out for goats popping up in unexpected places, zebras and chimpanzees grinning for the camera, and adorable chipmunks with bulging cheeks. Alongside high quality images, each page features mind-boggling facts about your favorite animals, including how they get around, what they like to eat, and how they stay cool or keep warm. Children will love this fresh glimpse into the lives of loads of weird and wonderful animals.

 

Bee Aware Month!

September is Bee Awareness month and this year Apiculture New Zealand are focusing on bee health by educating us on how we can feed the bees and help protect our precious bee population.

Did you know that bees support New Zealand’s agri-industry exports by over $5 billion annually – that is heaps! Plus they help grow one third of all the food we eat as well as helping our gardens flourish and look beautiful.

There is heaps that we can do to help out our little buzzing friends and one of the easiest way is by planting bee friendly plants and flowers. Bees need food so that they can help pollinate the food we eat. Bees will feed on pollen and nectar and this helps them to grow and Bee strong which helps them to fight off disease and parasites.

Bees also need clean water so why not make a shallow container for them to drink from. Just make sure you put pebbles and twigs in the water so the bees have something to rest on while they are drinking.

Another way we can help the bees is to stop spraying our gardens with harmful pesticides which kill the bees.

Palmers Garden Centre who are supporting Bee Awareness Month have information and competitions on their website plus check out their 5 top tips for a bee friendly backyard.

The library also has heaps of books on bees so take a look and… Lets save our bees!

Parks Week 2018

Who loves going to the park?  I do!  And I bet you do too!  We are very lucky to have an abundance of wonderful parks, gardens, walkways, tracks, reserves and sports fields to enjoy in Wellington.  There are parks for every occasion you can think of.  Where is your favourite park, and what do you enjoy doing there?

Wellington City Council’s Parks Week 10 – 18 March is an annual celebration of our parks and there’s lots going for the whole family to enjoy including Bike Krew Rodeo and the great annual Mt Victoria Treasure Hunt!  These events are both free and family-friendly so make sure to bring mum and dad, and your friends along too!

Parks are so important for our communities, they provide us with lovely green outdoor areas to play in, and they help keep us and our environment healthy.  Show your appreciation for our cities’ great parks by heading along to a Parks Week event or by simply enjoying your favourite local park.

2016’s Parks Week video is a cool clip worth a look too!  And here are some outdoor activity books:

Image courtesy of syndetics Image courtesy of SyndeticsImage courtesy of Syndetics

Backyard Bird Survey Week

Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae This survey started in 2007 and provides valuable information about our bird life around New Zealand. It’s really simple to do:

  • Spend one hour counting birds in your home garden, local park, or school ground sometime during the week 29 June – 7 July
  • Record the highest number of each bird species you see at one time during the hour.
  • Use this print form (which you can fax or post in) or this online form to record what you see.

If you’re not sure what the names of the birds are you can look at this handy guide.

You can sit either inside (e.g. in the living room at home or classroom at school looking out the window) or outside (e.g. on a deck or garden seat). If you are outside, be careful not to frighten birds away from your garden. If you have a bird feeder or water bath, you may like to watch an area of your garden that includes that feature. You don’t have to be able to see your whole garden, just part of your garden.

 

Important: Record the highest number of each bird species you see at one time during the hour and record on the form. If you see 1 blackbird early in your observation period and you write that down but later see 2 blackbirds at the same time, then cross out the 1 and write down 2. And so on. Do not record the total number you see at different times over the period you’re watching because the same birds may come and go several times. For example, if you see 2 blackbirds at one time, then later see 1 blackbird the total you have seen at one time is 2 not 3. The latter blackbird may have been the same as one of the two you saw earlier. You are allowed to count birds you hear but do not see, as well as birds flying or calling overhead.