TOSSI – TOSSI and education

by Maggie Cornish
TOSSI has had public education as one of its main objectives since its inception in 2002. Initially, Alison Stanes put up posters about TOSSI and the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary in the Sanctuary Information Hut. The hut, behind Anchor Bay Beach, now has brilliant photos and illustrations of the wildlife (animal and plant) in the park and the progress of revegetation. There is even a display case of stuffed birds! The hut is also used as a hub for presentations to visiting students and the general public, and is where visitors can obtain some new, beautifully illustrated information brochures.

The TOSSI nursery has maintained a relationship with Mahurangi College over many years. In 2005, when the nursery was in its infancy, the nursery leader Paul Williams and Les Cave, then a science teacher at Mahurangi, held a plant nursery session at the school. It was such a novel idea that it was even reported in the paper with photos. The students were involved in all stages of the process and nurtured their plants from seed to planting. Les organised a few student trips to Tawharanui to allow the students to put their own plants in the ground.

At this time of year, many schools use the park for group camps. However, Mahurangi College is the only one that spends time with our nursery team as part of their stay. Groups of students learn about what we grow and why, are shown seeds and plants, and then bag up some plants in preparation for planting in the winter. All are encouraged to join our planting days on the first Sunday of the months of June, July and August. As well as a learning experience, the number of plants they prepare gives our nursery team a great boost.

Though these projects are now part of TOSSI’s annual work, this year the Committee has specifically targeted public education and environmental awareness as a major focus. There are several retired and part-time teachers among our active membership so the momentum is anticipated to keep a steady pace.

TOSSI is a volunteer organisation with active leadership and many conservation projects. If you are interested in any aspects of our team’s work check out our website or email

Next Sunday in the Park will be held on May 7. Meet at The Woolshed at 9am. Wear old clothes, gumboots/sturdy shoes, gardening/work gloves. Please make sure that the soles of boots are clean. Bring raincoat or sunhat depending on weather.