The Dotterels’ Last Stand by Sue Newman, beautifully illustrated by Paul A. Willis is a realistic and ‘almost true’ story of the challenges dotterels face in finding a safe nest-site. A pair of dotterels visit a number of familiar landmarks and buildings that will be familiar to Auckland children and the additional side-bar background information about these significant sites is also very interesting – and would be of particular value to out-of-town primary to intermediate classes planning a field trip to Auckland.
But the most fabulous part of this picture book for 6-12 year olds is the true part – the truly amazing and heartwarming ending where humans help the dotterels overcome their biggest challenge of all. Humans also had development plans for the site – but in this true story, humans and dotterels work together.
It’s a story the deserves to be remembered, retold and more widely known – where Transit New Zealand showed it had a ‘conservation heart’ and actually took to the skies with giant monsoon buckets full of shells. The Squirrel helicopter made 350 trips in all to help make the dotterels’ chosen nest-site more suitable for them and trapping work continues to this day, just off the motorway, to keep the growing Shoal Bay colony of dotterels safe from predators.
Copies of ‘The Dotterels’ Last Stand’ are available from the Miranda Shorebird Centre, Tiritiri Matangi Island shop, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The price is $25 posted.
Read about how the Omaha community is working to protect dotterel here.