Conservation initiative no small feat

A Fossil Family member somewhere in Dusky Sound. Photo: Janet De Wagt
A Fossil Family member somewhere in Dusky Sound. Photo: Janet De Wagt
A little plastic family is one Dunedin artist's way of connecting the public with conservation efforts.

Janet de Wagt recently received $10,000 of Department of Conservation funding for The Fossil Family goes to Dusky Sound.

The story book contains photos Ms de Wagt took on a trip to kakapo conservation area Anchor Island in Dusky Sound.

It was funded by Doc for its Tamatea art exhibition which toured the country.

Her photos first show close-ups of the 1cm miniature plastic figures on location, which looked ''quite abstract'', she said.

''Then it will show the scene from a distance - it puts it into perspective.''

The public, especially children, were receptive to the photos, so she decided to make them into a book, she said.

Telling the story through the miniature family was a fun way to take the public behind the scenes of conservation efforts, Ms de Wagt said.

''It makes you slow down and look at all the information in the photograph. There's so much day-to-day stuff that people don't realise happens.

''If you engage people on the day-to-day things the more they know, and knowledge is power.''

Ms De Wagt said when she went to the island, all her team's gear needed to be vacuum-cleaned, and there were many pieces of research equipment she did not think about beforehand.

She also noted she had never ''seen so much chocolate before in a pantry''.

The book is expected to be released later this year.

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