(Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club)

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If you are interested in the sciences, natural history, and the outdoors, and enjoy meeting other people with similar interests then this could be the Club you have been looking for!

Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club, (HJNC) or Junats for short, is for young people from the age of 10 to 18, who have enthusiasm for some aspect of natural history and the outdoors. Younger family members are also welcome to join us if they have an older brother or sister who is a member. Parents will need to remain with their younger ones. Membership is for the whole family and costs $75.00 per year.

The club meets every Friday night during school terms at the Waikato Institute of Technology Horticulture Centre at the Rose Gardens on Cobham Drive, 7.00pm - 8.30pm. (Use the Gate 2 entrance opposite Grey Street, which may mean going around the new roundabout on Cobham Drive to access the entrance.) Parking is available outside - then just walk across the stone bridge to the meeting room by the entrance. You can meet other members, and have time to socialise before a talk or demonstration on an interesting topic.

Each Friday night we have a different guest speaker. Our speakers cover all sorts of topics, fossils, earthquakes and volcanoes, native plants, bushcraft, marine and freshwater biology, native birds and insects, reptiles plus other interesting science, ecology and engineering topics. . Recent programmes included talks on native frogs, Maui dolphins, spiders, looking at fungi under the microscope, Antarctic geology and a focus on pest control methods in Te Kauri Park Scenic Reserve. We plan to help to restore the wildlife that has been lost, once we have learned how to control pests like possums, rats and stoats.

Each school term we also plan at least one weekend or field trip somewhere equally exciting. These field trips give members and their parents the chance to get to know one other and the opportunity to explore new interests. Some activities we do are tramping, camping, caving, canoeing, abseiling, snorkelling, bush pest monitoring and control, and stargazing.

The Club owns outdoor equipment, including tents, a fleet of canoes and lifejackets, and some snorkelling gear. We call on experts in these fields whenever required. It does not matter if you have not tried these activities before as we can teach these skills and help you gain confidence in your abilities. We take care to ensure that all risks are anticipated and managed in all our activities. Safe adult/child ratios are adhered to on all trips away.

We have canoed on Lake Karapiro and Kawhia Harbour, abseiled in the Oparau area, camped at an inlet above Aotea and in the Awaroa Valley, tramped all over the Waikato, climbed on mountains including Ngauruhoe, Ruapehu, Pirongia and up Mt Karioi near Raglan, Mt Te Aroha and Maungatautari, visited ancient Maori pas in the Waikato and studied our wetlands.

We spend some weekends at Te Kauri Lodge, near Kawhia, and generally plan a 4-5 day camp at the lodge each summer and winter during the school holidays. Te Kauri Lodge belongs to the Club and staying there is a wonderful and memorable experience. Some of you may have already been there with your school.

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