Council helps to share wildlife message

ARRC founder Liza Schneider with the 10-book set of children’s wildlife stories.

Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Wildlife Trust founder and Tauranga Holistic Vet Dr Liza Schneider’s 10 children’s books are being donated to Western Bay libraries by Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

Fostering kindness and respect for wildlife is the message behind the donation, which will be distributed to the council’s libraries, some schools and environmental groups.

The stories, written by Liza, have been illustrated by five local artists – Emma Frederickson, Stiaan Viljoen, Sue Douglas, Frith Bartlett, and Michael Bogalo – and are based on true bird life experiences.

The books feature the individual adventures of 10 commonly-known New Zealand birds – named Frankie, Wiremu, Daphne, Tilly, Sal, Pipi, Kingi, Hemi, Sheldon, Manu – as they get into trouble at the hands of humans and are rescued and returned to the wild by the heroes who come to their rescue.

The books have catchy titles like ‘Wiremu and the Cat Gang’ which is about a little waxeye called ‘Wiremu’ that is attacked by some homeless and hungry cats. A little boy finds him with a broken leg and takes him into ARRC where he receives care and then is released once his leg has healed.

‘Daphne’s Dreadful Day’ is about a duck that becomes paralysed from swimming in a polluted river. After some special treatment and medicine she is able to swim in her favourite spots again.

Liza says she wrote the stories in the hope of educating communities on the importance of looking after our natural heritage and taking responsibility for the wellbeing of our wildlife.

“Most birds come to harm by the hand of humans. The stories are all based on true cases and tell how wildlife can be impacted by humans and how that can be avoided,” says Liza. “All the stories have a happy ending.”

The birds featured in the stories are developed into endearing characters and represent those species rescued and brought to Liza at the ARRC refuge. ARRC has been rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife in the Bay of Plenty since 2003 and receives more than 800 rescued birds a year.

WBOPDC community relationships advisers Ben Wilson and Glenn Ayo have spearheaded the council’s plan to use the ARRC series as a way to promote wildlife education.

“Council wants to help educate our children about respecting wildlife and having a caring attitude to our animals and the environment,” says Glenn.

“We work with some amazing groups such as Wild About New Zealand and Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Society to promote and support the conservation message in our communities.

“These great stories from ARRC, presented so beautifully for children, is an excellent way to help with this message – and our libraries are a great start.”

Liza hopes the ARRC Wildlife Trust book series will attract sponsors to enable the trust to fund distribution of the books to all schools in the Bay of Plenty – and further afield if possible.


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