`Wild day’ at wetlands this weekend

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by Greta Yeoman

Bird watching, tree planting and fish facts are among the activities on offer at Otipua Wetlands this Saturday.

Wild Day at the Wetland will mark the start of Conservation Week in South Canterbury.

Spots all around the Otipua Wetlands area will keep families and children entertained throughout the day, beginning with a collection of displays by the Department of Conservation, ARA Polytechnic and Environment Canterbury at the entrance to the Saltwater Creek walkway off King St.

Creek track, about 10 minutes’ walk, is Site 2 for the event which will include a display from South Canterbury Museum about wildlife, and be the starting point for guided walks with museum director Philip Howe at 11am, 1pm and 2pm.

It will also be the meeting point for the bird-watching walk with Paul Sagar at 11am, as well as the tree-planting at 10.30am and 1.30pm.

To reserve a place for the walks, bird-watching or tree-planting, people can sign up at the stands at Site 2 or text Rhys Taylor on 021462-260 (give a name and which time suits).

Other displays on offer at Site 2 will include a Timaru District Council one about native plants that feed butterflies and moths, and a Water Watch display about water quality – which will also include the opportunity to get involved with sampling visits at Saltwater Creek later this year.

The University of Otago Aquavan marine life “touch tank” will also be there, along with other displays including live freshwater fish, which has been co-ordinated by staff from Environment Canterbury and Fish & Game.

Those attending will be able to sign up for activities or wander about at their own leisure on the tracks of the wetlands, which are linked to Saltwater Creek.

Timaru Rocks will also be involved, making a giant long-tailed bat.

Otipua Saltwater Creek Catchment Group facilitator Rhys Taylor said all residents were invited along.

“All are invited to join in the fun, and probably splash in a few puddles – so gumboots or walking shoes are recommended.”