Panels provide link to nature

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull unveils the first of a proposed 30 Urban Nature panels in Portsmouth Dr...
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull unveils the first of a proposed 30 Urban Nature panels in Portsmouth Dr yesterday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
An ''effort to connect urban people to nature'' was launched yesterday with the unveiling, by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, of a nature panel.

The panel, located at the Kitchener St Reserve, is part of the Urban Nature campaign and is the brainchild of Department of Conservation partnerships ranger Craig Wilson in collaboration with the Otago Museum.

The first of 30 proposed panels portrays ''thought-provoking statements'' and ''engaging images'' of red-billed gulls, which are common in the area.

Passers-by can use a QR code to connect to more information.

''We're trying to make people feel more as if they're part of nature and understand the species around,'' Mr Wilson said.

''[We want to] make it easy and fast for people, really.''

Some panels would be changed seasonally to cater for different species of flora and fauna and the next two would be put up opposite the Edgar Centre and at the Anderson's Bay inlet.

Otago Museum director Dr Ian Griffin said getting involved with the idea was the ''easiest decision [he had] had to make in the last two years''.

He paid tribute to Otago Museum head of design Craig Scott, the main designer of the panels.

Mr Cull was excited about the project when speaking at the unveiling.

''If we can encourage more curious minds, then we can have more caring minds,'' he said.

''That's really what this is all about.''

Other high-foot-traffic sites around Dunedin city and Oamaru would host a panel, including possibly Woodhaugh Gardens, along with urban parks and streams and coastal sites.

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