long time no blog

/ front of te manawa art gallery at sunset /

finally! a big long post about what i've been up to these past couple weeks...

well, it’s no secret that i’ve been quite busy with my new job and still doing some hours at the school. i do three mornings and a full day saturday at ross and then the rest of my time is spent at the museum. i work til 6, which isn’t too bad since most people leave around 5:30 anyway.

/ searching for native fish in the kahuterawa stream... still in my work clothes /

i’ve basically been involved in all sorts of fact-finding and researching missions for everything having to do with the manawatu river as well as water in general. i’ve had a walk through the space with the designer once and while the exhibit isn’t massive, it is pretty extensive and will be fitting a lot into one place. because it has a lot to do with kids, there are a lot of fun interactive parts like a mini climbing wall and water-related games.

/ birds sorted out for the dioramas /

one of my first big projects was putting together dioramas that reflect different parts of the region – a semi-swamp forest, a riparian margin (a strip of vegetation next to a waterway), a lowland forest and the estuary. the ‘stories’ behind each were sort of already done in the past but i had to finalise a species list (some of the birds that were originally put aside for the displays were all wrong) and write text for the displays. i still have to go find lots of bugs and shells and things from the collection store to finish off the lists. i’m on a mission currently trying to find a local (or within nz) company that can make some fake plants for the dioramas, but not having much luck. anybody out there specialize in made to order artificial native plants??

/ herbarium fern specimen /

another project was getting a botanist from massey in to identify a bunch of herbarium (pressed plant) specimens that were donated to us from one of the local universities. we’ll be putting together a big book for people to look through and we’ll also be getting local schools to be making an herbarium collection themselves, which we’ll include in the display.

i’ve also been doing lots of work putting together content and facts for an ‘ecohouse’ where we show the importance of conserving water in the home and giving tips on the best ways to use and reuse water. this part is a lot like the work i did at the whanganui museum a couple months back.

/ brown trout (i think) from our fish spotting expedition... we were looking for kokopu /

and my most recent project is sorting out the details for the live animal displays. there will be golden bell frogs, cave weta, fish (of various sorts, not positive which ones yet) and katipo spiders. the wildlife act has just changed recently so i’m not positive we’ll be including the spiders now as they are classified as endangered. these little guys are related to the black widow spiders and they live in the grasses on the sand dunes at the manawatu estuary. this is probably my favourite part so far (dioramas are a close second) as it’s animal husbandry related stuff, which is much more my area of expertise. i just finished writing up a job description/proposal about who they’ll need to hire to take care of all of these animals (maybe me??) once the exhibit opens. to be honest, i don’t think they’re anticipating it being a very big job, but seeing as cave weta are difficult to keep in captivity and katipo might require permits, it’s going to be a fairly significant and important position. oh yeah, the cave weta are going to actually be in a cave with glowworms and everything… not exactly sure yet how that’s going to work with people still being able to read text panels… but then again there’s a lot I don’t know.

/ insects i need to sort for dioramas /

at ross today i just finished evaluating science fair projects. some better than others… only one out of the dozens i looked over was really worthy of going into the regional fair and some were just plain shocking… then again, i’m sure my science fair project wasn’t all that impressive at age 12 either and i think i turned out ok. i also had my first day of teaching the dance academy, which went pretty well despite the fact that i was late (more on this later), forgot my notes and pretty much forgot everything i before. i’m doing a mrs. weigelt tribute and choreographing to the wear sunscreen song :) i think i might have to look at the video again and steal some moves because choreography is sooo not my strong suit. i think the girls are having fun though, so that’s all that counts.

in other news, we had to rush aston to the vet this morning because he’s been pooping in random places in the house and meowing like a pathetic cat every time he tries to pee. turns out he has cystitis, poor thing. and now he’s going to be a ridiculously expensive fat cat

who’ll need special food and everything to try to make sure the cystitis doesn’t come back. aren’t pets great?? lucky he’s so damn cute. here’s proof:

/ awwwwww /

ok, off to bed. now that i have this big post out of the way i can start blogging more regularly again... hopefully!


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