Excited anticipation came to a head at 2pm on Saturday 29 February, with the start of our fourth family bush camp. More than 70 happy children and parents set up tents, greeted old friends, made new ones, were welcomed and, while enjoying afternoon tea, were given an outline of proceedings.
Some were new to camping, others were old hands but all were challenged, captivated, educated and entertained – within Centennial Park, our wonderful urban taonga.
Four years ago a fruitful collaboration between Parks and Reserves staff and Bush Society volunteers resulted in the inaugural bush camp. Since then we’ve gathered impetus and our success has encouraged other Auckland groups to follow suit.
The goals were – and are – to promote awareness of the natural environment, to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy it, to understand the inter-connectedness of all living things and to protect what we have. With these aims in mind Anna and Paul led bush walks, Fiona and Paula engaged families in stream monitoring, Om led a karakia before harvesting and using flax in innovative and crafty ways, Peter demonstrated predator control and Richard gave a tree talk.
Following free time and a barbecue dinner, Om narrated while the children acted out the legend of Maui stealing fire. Toasting marshmallows proved popular and the much anticipated bug hunt with torches was a fitting finale.
Another successful Bush Camp concluded with friendships established, connections made and more friends for Centennial Park.