Palmerston North’s national Wildbase Recovery project has taken another step towards becoming a reality thanks to a $100,000 contribution from Powerco. The company will be the naming sponsor of the Wildbase Recovery Education Centre.
“Becoming the naming rights sponsor of Wildbase Recovery’s Education Centre was an ideal fit for us,” says Powerco Acting Corporate Affairs Manager Krysti Wetton. “This is a great way we can contribute to national conservation efforts and to teach children about important environmental issues.”
Powerco’s commitment to the environment has always been strong. Its electricity and gas networks have achieved Enviro-Mark Gold level certification and many of their offices Enviro-Mark Diamond level through the Enviro-Mark® Certification programme.
Set in Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade, Wildbase Recovery will provide purpose-built rehabilitation aviaries and world-class care for native wildlife to rehabilitate from illness and injury. Patients will come from throughout the country to receive specialised treatment at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital, New Zealand’s leading wildlife hospital, before being transferred to the recovery centre. There, the nurturing environment will allow for recuperating wildlife, such as kiwi, takahē, and penguins, to be viewed by the public.
Upon their full recovery, animals will be released back into the wild in the hope that they will go on to successfully contribute to the survival of their species. As recovering wildlife will only be temporarily housed, usually for a matter of weeks, every visit to Wildbase Recovery will be a unique educational experience.
The Powerco Education Centre will be the heart of the facility. Through a series of highly interactive, engaging and educational exhibitions, the visitor experience will be transformed from a historically traditional ‘zoo experience’ to a place of social interaction, conservation education, play and discovery.
As well as a state of the art interpretation building, Wildbase Recovery’s online presence will provide high quality interactive storytelling and learning experiences – allowing schools and community groups the opportunity to utilise resources for their educational requirements. Run by a team of specialist wildlife veterinary staff, Wildbase Recovery will be a centre of excellence – also providing educational opportunities for university students, Rangitāne youth, and wildlife rehabilitators working in other areas of New Zealand.
Wildbase Recovery is a collaboration between Palmerston North City Council and Massey University, with support from Rangitāne iwi, New Zealand Rotary and Lions clubs. The Department of Conservation has been involved throughout the development of the project. They have provided a 30 year permit for the display of recovering native species, the first of its kind.
“It is exciting to have Powerco on-board as our first naming rights sponsor,” says Palmerston North Mayor, Grant Smith. “The Education Centre is where the public will directly engage with the conservation of endangered wildlife and learn how we can all change our behaviour to help win the fight for their survival.
The Wildbase Recovery Community Trust is tasked with raising the $5.69m needed to build the national wildlife recovery facility. From Powerco’s contribution, it is expected that $40,000 will go towards the building of Wildbase Recovery, taking the total raised to date to over $3m. The remaining three years and $60,000 of their sponsorship will assist with patient care and running the national Wildbase Recovery centre once it is fully established.
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