Monday, May 25, 2009

Introducing Shelley and the Stewart Island Project

Hi everyone, my name is Shelley. I am working for YHA on a really exciting project called The Stewart Island Project. I've been here for just on 15 months working from my office here at National Office co-ordinating the fundraising.

Wow where to start!

I think I'll begin by giving some background on the Island and project and fill in the gaps on me and the role I play as I go..

Stewart Island is an amazing place - our smallest island at the bottom of the South Island where over 95% of the native bush is a protected national park.You can get there by ferry or fly from Invercargill airport - both quite hair-raising experiences depending on the weather!It is worth it though. When you get there it can seem warmer than the often freezing mainland - this is due to the fact that a warm sea current from the Australian Great Barrier Reef flows onto Stewart Island, which also brings a much more diverse variety of marine creatures than would normally be found in waters of this latitude.

Stewart Island offers some of the best land and sea birding in New Zealand. Bird Watchers come from all over the world to enjoy the amazing variety. Very close to Stewart Island is Ulva Island - the jewel in the crown of bird watching- it offers a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including the South Island saddleback, mohua,rifleman,Stewart Island robin.

Also not known to many is that there is a breed of kiwi which lives on the island and can be seen when going on one of the many tramps around the island and is active both during the day and night.

So that's some background on the island.. and now for the project. There is so much to say and once I start it's hard for me to stop so I'll begin with a kind of overview.

The project itself is really cool, in a nutshell it's a mix of community and sustainability -accommodation and education resources in the one facility. The hostel will be designed to blend into the environment, leaving behind a small carbon footprint and will have solar panels,double glazing and up to date recycling.

The Learning Centre will be a specially designed area of 60m2 which will be primarily used by school groups when they come to the island on school camp. It will be resourced for research projects and will also be available to community groups. Now more than ever, environmental sustainability is becoming an essential part of our education curriculum.We see this as perfect timing to provide live-in and participatory experience for school students.

My job is to fundraise for the project which we are estimating will cost around $4million. We have all kinds of ways that we are doing this, including mailing out to our membership, and approaching funders for support. You can also give on-line. Check out our web page and read more about the project and how you can make a donation.

So that's my intro. I'll post more information on the project and ways you can donate as we progress. This is a community project, so any support from you will go a long way in helping us to reach our goal of providing a wonderful learning centre with sustainable accomodation that will benefit future generations for years to come.

Email us on if you have any questions about the project.

Thank you!


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