Space for Nature

Space for Nature is an initiative to celebrate and support urban residents of the Bay of Plenty who are protecting biodiversity in their backyards and encourage others to do the same.

The programme is facilitated by Envirohub through the Waiariki Park Region initiative, working in partnership to complement the work of existing local projects and agencies.

What is Space for Nature? 

Space for Nature is an initiative to celebrate and support urban residents, education providers, community organisations and businesses who are protecting biodiversity in their backyards, and to encourage others to do the same.

This project is facilitated by Envirohub Bay of Plenty, and supports our aspirations for a National Park Region, a movement towards a greener, wilder, healthier and more resilient Waiariki Park Region. 

Even if you have a small garden or limited space, there is still plenty you can do to give wildlife a safe place to live. 

In exchange for a pledge to provide safe habitat for wildlife in their gardens, participants receive a sign for their gate or letterbox, which acknowledges their commitment and hopefully inspires others in the neighbourhood to get on board. We can provide advice and resources; and connect you with initiatives in your area.

Member Resource Book (pdf)

Check out our little video with an introduction to Space for Nature. 

Why make Space for Nature? 

Private gardens and school grounds make up a large area of many towns and cities and have potential to be green spaces that support natural biodiversity of plants and animals. How supportive a garden is for biodiversity depends on a range of factors including types and coverage of vegetation, what you do in your garden, and features of the wider neighbourhood. Every square metre of nature and every tree provides ecosystem functions - including non native or edible species which might provide food, nectar for us, birds and important pollinating insects.

There is a lot that individuals can do in their own backyards to contribute which can be easy and low cost. Some of the benefits of being involved include: 

- Contributing to increased tree canopy coverage in urban areas, which results in more habitat for wildlife, cooler temperatures and beautiful green spaces; 

- Increased birdlife, lizards and insects;

- Increase in pollinators for food growing;

- Encouragement to observe and connect with nature to improve your wellbeing

- Reduced predators resulting in an increase in wildlife;

- Opportunity to connect with and support restoration activities happening in your neighbourhood;

- Join a network of kaitiaki (caretakers) taking action to care for their surrounding environment. 

 Let's do this! 

What are some of the things I can do to make Space for Nature on my property? 

We are focussing on encouraging you to implement actions in the following three areas: 

Provide suitable habitat

The key to providing habitat for wildlife is making sure there are plenty of places for them to hide - with food and water sources available nearby. You'll be surprised to find that once you build it - they will come! Remember also that the wildlife may not live in your garden full time, but will appreciate your garden as a safe stepping stone between the places where they live and feed.

Try some of the following ideas to help your garden provide habitat for wildlife. Click the links in the text to find further information. 


Protect Wildlife from pets and predators 

New Zealands' native plants and animals evolved in the absence of mammalian predators, leaving them incredibly vulnerable, with many species now threatened or extinct. Predators such as rats, possums, stoats and even cats eat nesting chicks, eggs, and lizards. In addition, possums eat huge volumes of native vegetation (and our fruit trees and roses!).

Keeping your backyard wildlife safe from predators and pets is critical when providing space for nature. Traps for predators are widely available and easy to use, but first you need to work out what predators may be present in your garden. Some of the things you can do include: 


Observe and connect with your wider neighbourhood 

Observing the changes taking place in your backyard, and of course enjoying the benefits is key - if the wildlife are enjoying it, you probably will be too! There are national initiatives you can take part in to assess your garden and observe the wildlife too. Looking further afield, think about what is happening outside your gate, and how that might be impacting the wildlife in your patch. We encourage you to: 


Who can join? 

Due to our current funding sources, we are starting a pilot of the project in the Western Bay of Plenty urban areas. If you are outside this area; please still get in touch and we will add you to our contact list when the project rolls out to other areas. 

We are inviting urban residents, schools and education providers, businesses and community organisations to come on board. 

Your Space for Nature membership includes: 

  • a sign for your gate or letterbox;
  • resource booklet;
  • personalised welcome email with links to further local resources;
  • free backyard rat trap and tunnel through Predator Free Bay of Plenty;
  • A native tree or shrub to plant in your garden;
  • Our quarterly newsletter;
  • Invitations to our quarterly workshops and garden tours.

For education providers and businesses we can provide you with a framed certificate for your office; a shout out via our social media; and talk about how else we can support you on your Space for Nature journey. 


How much does it cost? 

Thanks to funding from Bay Trust and Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Space for Nature is free for urban residents and schools. If you feel called to, a donation to Envirohub to develop and grow the programme would be much appreciated. For businesses, a suggested koha of $40 would be much appreciated! 



How Space for Nature works

1. Register online via the link above; telling us a bit about your property or organisation, and sign the pledge for your backyard or grounds aspiring to: 
    - Provide wildlife friendly habitat
    - Keep Wildlife safe from pets and predators
    - Observe and connect with your wider neighbourhood.
    The pledge is an informal commitment - you do not need to complete all of the suggested actions. 
2. You will receive a personalised welcome email with links to further information and resources. 
3. We will arrange delivery or collection of your welcome pack.  Display your sign proudly and encourage your neighbours to join the movement too. 
4. If you are willing, we would love to get a photo or brief video of you in your garden. If you're ok with it, we will also pop a pin on our Waiariki Park Region online map - to help demonstrate the collective impact across the landscape. This will help us to celebrate your efforts and also encourage others to get involved. This is entirely optional but encouraged. 
5. We will keep you updated with tips and advice on how you can implement some of the ideas for making space for nature in your backyard or grounds; through our quarterly newsletter, social media channels and workshops. 


Find out more! 

To find out more you can contact us via email on or phoning our office at 31B Glasgow Street, Tauranga on 07) 578 6664

We'd love to hear how you are getting on, make sure you follow us on social media via the links below: 

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