It’s not farewell it’s ka kite ano to Helen Young who has been involved with the education programme since it started back in 2014.
After 13 years teaching at Motupipi Primary School Helen is taking redundancy and heading up to Auckland for a year to do a full immersion Te Reo course.
“Being involved with the education programme has been amazing, I wish there was a Project Janszoon in every area of the country and I have every intention of being involved when I return,” says Helen.
Helen has had a long involvement with the park and education. Before teaching at Motupipi she worked for the Correspondence School in remote areas around the South Island, beginning with schooling her three children on the ‘family farm’ at Inangahuaon the West Coast.
She puts her passion for conservation down to her parents saying they instilled a love for the outdoors and adventure in the family from an early age. Her family used to go camping at Tōtaranui every summer, back when only a few made the long trek over the shingle roads.
“It was a two day trip from Christchurch with the Mark III Zephyr loaded to the gunnels – four kids, trailer loaded with the dinghy on top, a box of plums picked last minute at home while Dad planted the leeks. That’s a family tradition which carries on to this day,” she says.
Highlights of her involvement in the education programme have been the many bird releases she has attended. “The thing that has been so rewarding for me is seeing the manu released and knowing they are surviving,”
“Also, the Adopt a Section programme has been a catalyst for the kids from Motupipi to become more aware of the environment around them. When we first got involved some families had never been out to Wainui Spit and now whole families are visiting the park,” says Helen.
Education co-ordinator Brooke Turner says Helen has been a huge asset to the education programme. “Helen has contributed ideas, enthusiasm and drive to help us achieve successful trips and action-taking at the Motupipi Adopt a Section site at Wainui. The Motupipi leaders have so much support from Helen and you see their leadership and conservation skills grow exponentially each year due to her support. I’ll miss her heaps,” she says.
We know Helen will be returning regularly to Golden Bay to see the grandchildren and her garden and look forward to her being involved with Project Janszoon in the future.