Lucy Brooks Boundaries

  • Tauira / Student
    Lucy Brooks
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Yueyun Song, Rodney Adank, Lyn Garrett, Jason Mitchell

Boundaries is a unique conservation solution for New Zealand Dotterels. The design is a retractable barrier placed around the perimeter of Dotterel beach sites during the nesting season, encouraging a longer incubation by protecting nesting birds from predators and public intrusion. The barrier is cheap to produce and easy and quick to set up, and through increasing the visibility of nesting sites makes us more aware of the indigenous species with which we share the land.

Conservation of the natural environment is a large part of New Zealand’s national identity, however only a small portion of our society is aware of the ongoing threats to our flora and fauna. Deforestation, the introduction of pests, pesticides, and land development are all factors leading to the decline of indigenous biodiversity.

The plight of native birds interested me particularly due to their proximity to and interaction with daily human activities. Many species are categorised as nationally vulnerable or at risk, one of which is the New Zealand Dotterel owing to their ground level beach nesting sites being exposed to predators. Trapping is widely used to control predators but can’t protect nesting sites from domestic pets or accidental human interference.

Boundaries is a unique conservation solution for New Zealand Dotterels. The design is predator proof through the height being 1.8m, with a polypropylene fence to prevent pests climbing and jumping. Multiple Boundaries can be connected together to create a wider perimeter and the form and colour is obvious to warn the public and their pets.

The product is split into three main elements; the base with an auger to ‘drill’ into the sand, a main base unit that encases the retractable fence, and a retracting tool. The base includes four handles to allow the user to use force to wind the auger into the sand to act as an anchor.

Once secured, the base unit is locked into the base with a bayonet action. Waratahs are set up around the perimeter and connect to the fence with push rivets as it is manually extended. The fence then connects back to the base unit, sand stakes are used to further secure the fence to deter pests from digging. Once the nesting season is over, the retractable tool is used to wind the fence in. This tool is removable so the public cannot take down Boundaries during its use.

Boundaries is directed at members of conservation organisations like DOC to set up on site, but could also be managed by volunteer groups. There is a lack of funding within conservation, and I catered to this with affordable, sustainable materials and technologies. Boundaries uses simplicity to its advantage, as the product is placed in a harsh, changing environment it needs to withstand the elements.