Open VUE

The Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary Project

Nature in the Neighbourhood

​Residents, visitors and volunteers are vital to see this vision through, by taking action in their own backyards and community spaces including: removing invasive weed species, growing and planting native plants, trapping and monitoring introduced mammalian predators, as well as taking part in Citizen Science, the online community and being involved at an organisational level as part of the steering group. 

Backyard Ecosanctuaries

Become a Backyard Ecosanctuary!

The Backyard Ecosanctuaries project is a citizen science programme, established by the Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary (VUE) Project with support from Predator Free Dunedin's City Sanctuary Project, Te Ao Tūroa: Dunedin's Environment Strategy and the ECO Fund and the Otago Polytechnic. This collaborative project facilitates wildlife-friendly backyard actions, expanding so far to over 100 participating households, creating a positive ripple effect that reflects improved biodiversity in their backyards, and the wider community. 

Take the following actions in your backyard and be a part of Backyard Ecosanctuaries:

  • Predator management - Backyard monitoring and trapping
  • Plants - Community planting & weeding, Backyard planting & weeding, native seed collection, propagation and care at The Community Propagation Nursery.
  • Lindsay Creek -Riparian habitat restoration​

Habitat Restoration

Backyard planting and weeding

Throughout the year, as plants at the propagation nursery are ready for planting, they will be available to households to plant in their backyard. 

As part of the Valley Spring Clean event, we participate in the Weed Bash - an event to encourage residents to remove invasive weeds from their backyards and community spaces with support via weed removal and volunteers. 

Community planting and weeding - Lindsay Creek - Riparian habitat restoration​

We host regular working bees at the “Riparian Rhapsody” in Chingford Park. Working bees often involve a variety of tasks including removing invasive weeds from where we have previously planted, weeding any sites in preparation of planting, as well as planting itself! 

Native Plant Propagation

At our small native plant propagation nursery, we are collecting native seeds and seedlings from the community, propagate them and give them back to the community. Volunteers will be (depending on the time of year), sowing seeds collected from the area into recycled seed trays, pricking out and potting up seedlings as they grow, watering the plants, and undertaking any site maintenance to keep the site clear and tidy.

Predator Management - Backyard Monitoring and Trapping

​With increased community energy for trapping possums and rats, we have been empowered to increase our trapping efforts by bringing on a new team member. Our new Community Trapping Coordinator is available to install and maintain free-to-borrow possum traps and support new and existing backyard trappers on their backyard trapping journey.

Backyard Possum trap Installations

For possums you need a possum trap in a tree. Our Community Trapping Coordinator, can assess your property’s trapping needs, install appropriate traps, and support you in your backyard trapping journey. Backyard possum trapping helps support our beautiful native bird and plant species. 

Contact if you are interested in hosting a possum trap on your property. 

As a prerequisite for trap installation, our Community Trapping Coordinator may ask you a few questions, to ensure the trap can be installed safely on your property (i.e. Is there a suitable tree or fencepost to install the trap?). 

Mountains of rat trap boxes, built by the North Dunedin Shed!
Mountains of rat trap boxes, built by the North Dunedin Shed!

Trap Library

If you’re after that pesky rat or for help finding out about and gaining control over creatures that may be lurking in your backyard; come along to the Trap Library during open hours:

​The team will have monitoring devices (chew cards) and rat traps available.

The trap library is made possible as part of the Open VUE Backyard Ecosanctuaries programme and through support from Predator Free Dunedin's City Sanctuary Project, North Dunedin Shed Society, ORC’s Ecofund and Dunedin’s Environment Strategy: Te Ao Tūroa and our wonderful reception, Youth Grow and community Volunteers. 

Get Involved

We’d love for you to be a part of the Open VUE family!

Volunteer opportunities:

  • Backyard predator trapping
  • Volunteer reserve trap line checking
  • Backyard native tree planting and weeding
  • Working bees (planting and weeding) at adopted sites
  • Working bees at native plant propagation nursery
  • Species monitoring 

If you're keen to be involved, please contact Clare by email on: Emily on: or Phone us on: 03 473 8614, or check out the links below!

What people say...

Meet the Dream Team

Because teamwork makes the dream work!
Check out what is coming up

Our Collaborators

Our Supporters and Funders