28 Sep 2011
By Wright Communications
Renowned naturalist Ruud Kleinpaste - known as The Bug Man - brought some celebrity firepower to one of Ricoh's much-anticipated annual environmental initiatives which this year took place at Duder Regional Park.
True to form, he managed to find a friendly weta or two in the coastal forest to show the many children who took part.
Ricoh New Zealand managing director Mike Pollok says the 'Big Green Day Out' gives the company's Auckland staff and their customers an opportunity to make a real environmental difference in a fun way.
After travelling from their head office to the park in the 'Bug Bus', a council ranger supervised Ricoh's dozens of volunteers as they weeded in dotterel nesting and roosting areas which are often damaged by people, animals, and invasive pest plants.
"The plight of the dotterel in many ways sums up man's impact on New Zealand's precious native birdlife, and we are keen to do our bit to help," says Mike Pollok.
"Ricoh New Zealand puts a huge focus on reducing our environmental impact, and we also look for meaningful ways to help the environment in general. Involving our staff, families and customers on a fun day is a great way to do that."
Located on the pohutukawa-fringed Whakakaiwhara Peninsula, which juts out into the Tamaki Strait south east of Maraetai, Duder Regional Park is a 162-hectare coastal farm park.
"We are delighted Ruud agreed to help us contribute to the efforts to save the dotterel's habitat so close to our biggest city. His unique personality inspired the team when tiredness set in."
The small wading bird was once widespread, but the Department of Conservation estimates there are only about 1,700 birds left due to a combination of habitat loss, predation by introduced mammals and disturbance during breeding.
Since it began the Big Green Day Out initiative in 2004, Ricoh has also planted more than 10,000 trees on Motuihe Island in the Waitemata Harbour, which is also an important habitat for rare native wildlife.
It wasn't all hard work for this year's volunteers - Ricoh provided a barbecue lunch and children's lolly scramble.
Mike Pollok says drawing attention to environmental issues helps Ricoh's staff consider their own impact on the environment.
"The volunteering day fits with Ricoh's commitment to our community. And I'm sure the promise of our famous spit roast at lunchtime helps motivate people as well."
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