EcoFest North - Backyard Actions

We take this opportunity to acknowledge and to thank all our amazing contributors to EcoFest North 2020. Our original festival programme was interrupted by COVID-19 lockdown, however, we felt a deep responsibility to continue to share important life-changing actions and information during this time of isolation. The opportunity of turning EcoFest North into Backyard Actions was facilitated by sharing the links from presenters who had videos/audio available thus allowing the festival to support growth in this time of great change, moving us all gently in the direction of living more lightly on our Earth!

This festival with all intentions was about allowing people to interact directly in our neighbourhoods, communities and environment. We hope that you felt inspired by what we have been able to share to bring about a healthy change for our wellbeing and the Earth. We are seeing the quick results of nature returning, when humans make way for nature to thrive, all the beauty of natural world surrounds us with a refreshing view of how life can be if we adopted a more respectful and collaborative way of living and thriving together. 
As EcoFest North 2020 ends, stay tuned to this page, as we continue with Backyard Actions to keep you inspired and informed with simple ways you can make at home and in your local neighbourhood. Live Lightly and Love our Earth!

Much gratitude to our funders for everything you have done for us in the past, everything you still do and will continue to do, we at Kaipātiki Project just want you to know how thankful we are, and we look forward to a prosperous future together!

EcoFest North Funders v2

Thank you for joining us!

Free resources 

20+ Inspiring and Free Gardening Documentaries

Here are some inspiring gardens and gardeners, as well as some older documentaries that are hard to find, but packed with absolutely wonderful gardening information.

Teaching garden coordinator role


Film - 2040 | Free Livestream 

Auckland Libraries and Kaipātiki Project are pleased to offer the Livestream of "Film 2040" - a documentary by French filmmaker Damon Gameau who travels the world in search of new approaches and solutions to climate change. Click here to livestream "2040" via Beamafilm and use your library membership card. 

Nature Documentaries - There are some fantastic Nature and Environment documentaries available through Beamafilm videos on the Auckland Libraries website, and a number of the docos have local content. Gaining free streaming access to these docos with an Auckland Libraries membership is easy. If you don't have a library card, you will still be able to sign up to Auckland Libraries and get a membership number. More details will also be posted on the Glenfield Library Facebook page.

Environmental Film FestivalAs the annual environmental film festival in Washington DC got canceled, the organizers have put about 80 films online, almost all of them free access for a limited time. A great resource for those sheltering, watch them here.

Sustainable Living Recipes by Oak and Thistle - Follow their Facebook page to view new recipes for fermentation, conservation and everyday cooking tips. This season is the busiest time of year for preserving fruit, berries & vegetables & great chance to learn some new ways from the professional. Julie is a tutor, author and columnist who is passionate about living sustainably in Auckland’s urban environment.

Online Training Courses with Department of ConservationExpand your knowledge with these free courses ranging from bird identification, biosecurity, wildlife and more.

Get Close & Personal with Your Environment - Sara Kulins is a young enthusiast who is sharing her passion about the great outdoors and here she shares one of her first 'educational' videos, also part of her job at MERC (as an educator and National Coordinator for Seaweek), and in this video, she is encouraging people to interact with the outdoors and seek out adventure in their 'backyard'. Follow Sara's Facebook page.


Sustainable Food Videos by Pacific Vision Aotearoa

Message to all Backyard volunteers

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Auckland City Council, Local Parks has a special message of continuity for those who wish to continue their volunteering at a backyard level with things you can continue to do during this Lockdown period of Ecofest North and ongoing. Read more

Big backyard clean-up: safely picking up rubbish

beachcleanupWherever you are, the environment would benefit from a bit of love.... and with a little bit of effort, we can make the world a cleaner place after COVID-19.
The Challenge: On your walks and daily outings simply pick up what doesn't belong. Invite the other people in your 'bubble' to join in. Follow social distancing rules. Wash your hands afterwards! Then post a pic of what you found using the hashtag #bigbackyardcleanup

The official definition of backyard includes:

  • an area at the rear of a house
  • a nearby area in your neighbourhood 

A Fun Idea by Blue Borage

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You could plant up a container garden to pass on to friends or family once socialising starts up again. I’m calling it ‘adopt-a-box’. Something you and your family can get creative within your own backyard!

Backyard Activities by Pest Free Kaipātiki - Our friends have been busy putting together a calendar full of backyard activities that will be shared with you daily for the duration of the lockdown period. There are games, challenges, quizzes, information and resources. There is something for everyone and is also a chance to start or continue animal pest control, getting rid of those nasty pest plants and getting to know the biodiversity in your backyard. Definitely check it out!

Being part of your neighbourhood in a new way
An opportunity to showcase your neighbourhood and what's happening there - we encourage pictures of the restoration, weeding or sustainable action, to see what this is about;
COVID-19 has shown us how committed we are to supporting each other in times of crisis. Our community is so strong. This is one of the most beautiful moments of solidarity in all of history. Where we stay at home to protect our most vulnerable. Join us in your neighbourhood for some pictures at your doorstep (taken from a safe social distance!). If you're keen to photograph your neighbours we'd love to hear from you. Our goal is to be in every neighbourhood in NZ. Let's document this historic moment together :) 

Wellbeing links

Grounding for the Soul 

Shamanic Journey

Alyse Young: "I am delighted to share my Grounding Exercise which I started with everyone at the recent Shamanic Journey on the opening day of the EcoFest North. This is a very potent exercise to practise, it's simple and immediate, bringing all of your energy back into your body and Being. We are born sensory beings, therefore, we are naturally sensitive because we are naturally "connected to everything", not just other people but all living matter, including trees, animals, rocks, & the elements. Read more: Grounding Exercise for Embodying Your Energy.

Chakra Mantras by Uttarkashi - This album is a guided mantra practice that will create sound vibrations that have a relaxing and healing effect on all four aspects of our being. They calm the mind, creating peace, tranquility and stillness, hence create space for energy to rise. Listen to the album via Spofity or Apple

DIY activities 

Make your own mask

Olsen Mask for PPE with optional filter pocket: A stylish mask created by a fashion designer

Masks by Kutikuti DIY: No sewing required 

Children’s corner

Herb Fairies Academy stories

Eva Scherer of Herb Fairies Academy offers a Herb Fairies Story on Althea - Marshmallow Fairy. A story to share with your kids to enjoy and learn about the local herbs in your backyard gardens. Read more

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Upcycle Tutorials by ReCreators - Short video tutorials for kids and the whole family to learn how to sew a pillow, make a T-shirt yarn or sewing kit and many more upcycling tips. Follow them on Facebook to watch more videos.

Wooden Robots

A woodworking project for parents and kids to work on together. You may have wood offcuts from previous home improvement projects or neglected wooden furniture that you can disassemble and transform into something else.

Posted by The ReCreators on Monday, 30 March 2020

Check out Wild Eyes: Nature Missions for Kiwi Kids - Learn nature ninja skills, get crafty, hunt poo and discover amazing stuff outdoors.

A gift from Pacific Ink

Find hidden animals and colour them. Colouring is a great activity for everyone. Download the image

ink pacific

Backyard activities

Revive Nature

  • Adopt a spot and release some native plants (weed around the base of the plant)
  • Check some traps that you know of and are close to your home
  • Pot up native seedlings popping up in your garden to plant them later this year or next year
  • Take a bucket or a bag for a walk and do a mini beach, reserve or stream clean-up
  • More birds are out, so let's record bird sightings with eBird or DOC
  • Record wildlife and plants you see in iNaturalist, a free online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature and identify species
  • Backyard weeding, so that it doesn't spread beyond your backyard. Learn about weeds here
  • Collect and propagate native seeds from your backyard. Learn about storing and growing seeds here
  • Research new ways to connect with nature, such as Rongoā Māori and native plant medicine here
  • Daily backyard Wild Child activities with Auckland Parks here
  • Pest Detectives here
  • Kiwi Conservation Club activities here
  • Kiwi Guardian Take Action in your backyard here

Live Lightly

  • Winter Garden tips: Learn about raising seedlings here 
  • Learn about transplanting seedlings here
  • Learn about composting with Compost Collective. How about using your eggshells to start new seedlings?
  • Organise your wardrobe and turn unwanted items into something new with Re-Creators or check out Pinterest 

 Interesting reads

Join thousands of people from around the world and get outside to look for nature in your backyard!

City Nature Challenge with iNaturalist

Along with Christchurch and Dunedin, Auckland is taking part in the City Nature Challenge 2020.

From April 24–27, we will make observations of as many species as we can from the Auckland District and upload them to iNaturalist.

Join thousands of people from around the world and get outside to look for nature in your backyard!


Backyard Challenges


  1. Share a PHOTO on Facebook or Instagram doing one of the sustainable actions,
  2. Add #ecofestnorth2020, and
  3. Be in to win the PRIZES from our sponsors!

The winner will be announced on 19 April 2020.

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