Holistic Vets’ wildlife trust needs your help to educate our children

16 June 2015

Tauranga-based Holistic Vets’ not for profit arm, Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre Wildlife Trust, is investing in children’s books to fuel a lifelong appreciation of conservation. Find out more about its approach to community investment.

Holistic Vets is a vet clinic that integrates complementary therapies – therapies that aren’t utilised in mainstream vet clinics, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutritional medicine and oxygen therapy – with conventional veterinary medicine and surgery. Its approach is to get to the root of the problem, not just treat the symptoms, like many vet medicines do with many health conditions, according to Dr Liza Schneider, founder of Holistic Vets.

Since 2003, the vet clinic has invested in a not for profit arm, the Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (ARRC) Wildlife Trust, in response to what Liza says is a lack of infrastructure for wildlife rehabilitation in the Bay of Plenty.

For Holistic Vets investing in the ARRC means it’s able to expand its reach from vet care for domestic animals to providing care for the Bay of Plenty wildlife. Holistic Vets provides the life blood, veterinary care for animals, for the ARRC, an important point of its investment.

As part of its focus on wildlife rehabilitation, the ARRC has just released the first of a collection of books aimed at educating children about New Zealand’s wildlife.

Liza hopes that educating children from a young age will help them inform their parents and, more importantly, help them develop a lifelong awareness of the importance of conservation, environmental sustainability and animal welfare.

Frankie and the Flypaper – the first in the collection of eight books – tells the story of Frankie, a hapless and adventurous fantail, as he roams from the forest and into the home of an unsuspecting family who, much to Frankie’s surprise and relief, rush him to the ARRC.

Frankie’s story is followed by the tales of seven other native birds (a shag, tui, morepork, waxeye, seagull, penguin and kereru), as they explore the world outside their homes and are impacted by humanity, over the coming months. The stories look at how these animals come into harm’s way and the job of the ARRC in protecting and rehabilitating them.

Liza says, “The stories impact kids and also endear them to native wildlife; Frankie is a character that they can care about and so they want to help him.”

One of the ARRC’s aims is to highlight how conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability link together.

“It’s so kids aren’t saying, ‘Oh there’s pollution and we can’t do anything about it’,” says Liza.  “It’s showing kids that every little bit helps, that the human population impacts on wildlife and that they can make a difference.” 

The books are based on true stories – regularly encountered by the ARRC – but have been adapted for children. Each tale, such as Sheldon the Shag, is based around a theme. Sheldon’s story explores the impact of over-fishing as he searches for food for his chicks.

Liza hopes to raise enough money so the Trust is able to distribute the books to schools nationwide and ideally have an education officer tour through primary schools to educate children about human impact on wildlife.

Proceeds from the books will go directly to the ARRC to continue funding community education and wildlife rescue.

If you would like to sponsor the project you can donate through the ARRC website or contact the ARRC on (07) 579 9115