Native lizards engage kids

21:14, Jun 16 2014
Gecko talk
CURLY QUESTIONS: Five-year-old Daniel and his dad Andy Revans get up-close with a New Zealand gecko. ‘‘How fast does a lizard’s heartbeat go,’’ Daniel asks. ‘‘That’s a very good question,’’ herpetologist Dylan van Winkel says.

Curious questions and interesting facts were on hand as families got the chance to investigate reptilian wildlife.

The Kiwi Conservation Club hosted a workshop on "stunning skinks and gorgeous geckos" at Manurewa's Auckland Botanic Gardens.

Herpetologist Dylan van Winkel, who specialises in reptiles and amphibians, led a fun educational session for more than 80 children and parents who were keen to learn more about the scampering specimens.

Kids were able to get up close to the Duvaucel's gecko, the largest variety in New Zealand, and handle a green gecko and a forest gecko.

Club co-ordinator Margi Keys says the event was the biggest turnout the club has had in more than a year.

"We are very grateful to New Zealand Herpetological Society members for bringing their terrariums (containers housing lizards) and sharing their knowledge with us."


The club has been running for more than 20 years to teach Kiwi kids about conservation and wildlife and has more than 1600 members around the country.

Events are offered to members every month with different themes and subjects.

They can include adventures such as exploring local beaches and forests.

South Auckland club co-ordinator Rosemary Cotman says the projects always strive to be entertaining.

"It's not like school. The kids come to us in their free time because they want to," she says.

The presentation also included tips on how to create lizard friendly gardens and Keys says the audience was "spellbound".

"The children were immediately engaged. It was hard for them to keep their burning questions till the end."

Call Rosemary on 292 2512 for more information on how to become a club member.

Manukau Courier