About us

Earthlore is all about giving back to nature.

Life long, passionate conservationists, Gordon and Janine have been developing Earthlore since 2006, transforming their ten acre lifestyle block into a wildlife haven to educate and inspire people to care for the environment.


Meet Your hosts


Gordon Thompson - AKA Inspector Insector

A keen insect enthusiast, Gordon has developed a character called Inspector Insector to inspire and educate children to learn about the fascinating world of insects. His alter ego (Inspector Insector) has become an important part of the Earthlore experience, with schools and preschool groups booking in to help solve one of his Top Secret case files. Some of these case files can be found in a book published by Earthlore called Fly-Spy and the private eye - the story of Inspector Insector.



Gordon also writes a regular feature for the MBNZT quarterly magazine, Butterflies and Moths of New Zealand.

A bit of a handyman, Gordon builds most things around Earthlore, re-using or re-purposing whatever he can lay his hands on. An example of his zero waste philosophy would be the traditional Gypsy bow top caravan that he built by repurposing an old car, wood from a disused fence and the surround from an old coal range that had been left to rot under a hedge. 

 As well as building the caravan, he also built the spider/fly photo board and the Flea Circus....and he does the donkey work too (literally). It is his job to look after the animals, feeding donkeys, sheep and geese as well as trimming the donkey's hooves and maintaining their paddock  (picking up poo) so he's a fairly busy boy especially as he's also a member of the Owaka Volunteer Fire Brigade, a member of the Owaka Lions Club and serves on the area committee for St Johns.


Janine Thompson

Gardening and a love of nature started for Janine as a child when she would regularly inhabit the local garden shop, choosing plants like other children chose sweets. Now, with a background in horticulture she is happy to share her knowledge in the hope that others will follow in her footsteps and help preserve our incredible flora and fauna.

 As the resident plant expert, Janine is responsible for planning and selecting the plant species to be grown in the Insect Conservation Habitat, the Food Forest and  in and around Bug City. To date she has planted well in excess of 2000 plants on the property, many of which she propagated herself, including some rare species that can be found on the New Zealand endangered plant list. 

A few years back Janine was involved in the Catlins Apple Project where cuttings were taken from old apple varieties found on farmsteads and roadsides around The Catlins. As a result of this project twelve different heirloom varieties have been planted in Earthlore's Food Forest so cuttings can be taken to preserve these old, heritage apples. 

On wet days Janine can be found in her sewing room, stitching or embroidering; or possibly on the veranda felting wool she has dyed using natural dyes, to create an art piece for an upcoming exhibition.

Janine is a member of Catlins Promotions and frequently does voluntary weeding and plant maintenance work for both Catlins Promotions and Forest and Bird. She also serves on the committee of the South Otago branch of Forest and Bird.