The Southland Branch of Forest and Bird branch stretches to the Catlins in the east, Te Anau in the west and up through central Southland to Queenstown.The Southland landscape includes two of New Zealand’s largest National Parks (Fiordland and Stewart Island), the largest RAMSAR wetland site in the country at Awarua/Waituna as well as mountain ranges, extensive native forest areas, one of the largest coastlines in the country. Southland also contains large areas of intensive farmland.
Two large hands on projects for Southland Branch members and supporters are – Te Rere yellow eyed penguin reserve and Tautuku Forest cabins and Lenz Reserve. Additionally the Branch runs a programme of monthly trips (in the summer) and talks (in winter) as well as working weekends to Te Rere and Tautuku. For Forest & Bird's 90th Celebrations – the Branch built a bird watching shelter with interpretation at the Invercargill Estuary Lagoon, on the Sutton walkway.
Te Rere Reserve
The main hands-on project for Southland Branch is the restoration of the 67 hectare Te Rere yellow-eyed penguin reserve in the Catlins. The Te Rere Reserve was purchased by Forest and Bird in 1989 while native forest logging was threatening the penguin population. The site has now been managed by the Southland Branch for over 25 years.
This work has largely involves planting up to 1000 locally sourced native species every year, fencing, track making, weed and animal pest control, penguin monitoring and research. It is a remote and windswept coastal site and access is through private farmland.
There are numerous opportunities to volunteer and get involved in conservation projects in Southland. Volunteering is not only interesting and rewarding but it is also satisfying to know that you are making a difference. Make the time to go out and enjoy the wonderful natural areas that Southland has to offer and be inspired by nature. Visit the Branches new Bird Viewing Shelter at the Sutton lagoon, Invercargill (our 90th aniversary project).
Southland Branch has its own projects (Te Rere and Tautuku) but also supports many other conservation projects throughout the Southland Region. As our members are geographically spread over a large area you may find activities you can help with in the list below. See our calendar of events for exact dates and contacts. Email the Branch email address for other information or offers to help.
Forest & Bird Society’s Tautuku Forest Cabins in the Lenz Reserve are nestled amongst 550 ha of beautiful native forest in a quiet peaceful setting on the Catlins section of the Southern Scenic Route.
Get away from technology, no TV, no Cellphone coverage; wake up to the sound of birdsong, the sea and breezes in the trees.
Enjoy the 20 minute graveled nature trail, or try the longer more challenging three hour “Long Track” both on site. The native bush features extensive kamahi/rimu forest - bush birds - bellbird, tui, kereru, fernbirds in wetlands, glow worms. Learn about logging history by walking to the adjacent Historic Sawmill site with interpretation and the restored Traill Engine.