This term we welcomed on board Fairhaven Primary School in Te Puke. We have an awesomely supportive contact teacher called Liz Logan who is the pod leader for the senior school. Liz selected ten, year 5&6 students for the WANZ group this term. Our first session there consisted of an icebreaker/korero, a walk around the school grounds doing the “Rainbow forest chart” and assessing the kid’s knowledge base. We also put out 2 tracking tunnels to “weather” (lose the plastic smell and allow animals to become used to them) and some wooden insect disks. These will be already to use when we return in term one next year (2018). The kids were excited to be a part of the group and we look forward to creating a positive and sustainable relationship with the school and its pupils.
Theme – Introduced Pests
- Understand why a range of animals and plants are classified as ‘pests’.
- Learn how to identify common local animal & plant pest species
- Understand how many introduced animals and plants cause significant threats to our native flora and fauna.
- Learn what people are doing to manage pest populations locally and regional/national targets for pest management
- Built on existing knowledge of students through discussion and observations about local predator control projects.
- With the support of volunteers students tried a range of pest management methods that target different pest species including trapping, lures and baits.
- Kids played simulation games including possum picnic to understand how control processes work.
- Students tracked rodents in the school grounds and learned how to analyse and record their findings.
- Students managed rat traps at school, checking them regularly and recording findings in the Predator Free BOP database. All participants follow a safe trap handling process, ensuring they avoid any injury and pests are trapped as humanely as possible.
- Students learned how to make their own tracking tunnels and chew cards so they could monitor their home sections and surrounding areas.
- Students had an awesome visit to the By De Ley wetland with freshwater and restoration expert Peter Ellery. Students got to see a range of traps including rodent, stoat and possums traps as well as a range of native fish and eel traps.
- Students got to see native fish and eels (some for the first time!) and learn about why we need to protect their habitat and what threats there are to our native freshwater species as well.
- Students made pest posters which they presented to the both classrooms ~30 kids. These are displayed in the classroom area.
Theme – Freshwater Stream Ecology
- Find out where local waterways are found, and information about their ‘setting’.
- Learn to identify the difference between healthy and unhealthy streams.
- Learn to identify who uses local freshwater resources and how, including some understanding of the range of cultural values around water.
- Visit a local stream and learn to assess waterway health.
- Learn why our streams are important and the role they play in natural ecosystems.
- Learn to identify freshwater invertebrates, fish and eels.
- Learn how and why we monitor stream health.
- Students took part in the “where in the world is our water?” activity, including comparative assessment of healthy vs unhealthy streams.
- Wild NZ students learnt basic water quality testing and monitoring techniques at school and during the site visits.
- Students learnt how to correctly identify invertebrates, fish and eels, how to record results and share them.
- The Wild NZ team Students from visited their local stream first in Puketoki reserve at the top of Whakamarama Hill and then visited the stream in Omokoroa. They assessed the health of each and were shocked to see how water quality declines with passage down the catchment to the harbour.
- Students visited their local stream, Ohineangaanga, where they assessed the many different indicators of streams health.
- Rat traps placed around school grounds. Trapping will begin in term 2.
- Continue to communicate and engage with school(s) and the wider community about protecting and enhancing biodiversity in Te Puke via articles in the local newspaper (Te Puke Times), school website, newsletter and Wild NZ blog.
- Increase contact with local conservation group/s.
Theme – Forest ecology and mini beasts
- Learn to identify common native trees and plants in their schools and local areas.
- Learn why our native forests are important and the role they play in our ecosystem
- Learn how and why we monitor insect populations.
- The students walked around the school and learnt how to correctly identify common native tree species and other plants within their school grounds.
- Students selected a native tree or plant and learnt how to make a QR code for it. Students selected the best website before creating their QR code, so other students, teachers and classes can follow our trail, scan the code and discover what the tree/plant is and useful information about it.
- Students participated in a leaf shape scavenger hunt and brought back their findings to the group, then identified which leaves came from which trees and plants using ID guide books.
- The students visited Ohineanganga stream and learnt about stream habitats, water quality and how to test the water quality, search for macroinvertebrates and identify them to assess the streams health.
Theme – Overheard the bird (native & non-native bird species)
- Students learned to identify the birds in their local areas and the purpose of bird monitoring in predator control projects.
- Students, teachers and parent helpers contributed to annual bird surveys (using 5 minute bird counts) and added information to the Wild NZ database.
- The students learned how to correctly identify the most common bird species in their area and gained basic bird call knowledge.
- We investigated local threats to native bird populations
- We practised 5-minute & 1-hour bird surveys at two sites (school grounds & at Otawa Trig Reserve). Finding out about flight patterns & behaviour helped students identify birds too.
- The students had a field trip to Maketu Estuary where we met wetland expert, Tania Gaborit who works for Maketu wetlands. She showed the kids a collection of taxidermy pest animals and native birds & talked about the project. It was great seeing the bird’s beaks/bills and feet up close when she discussed how the use them.
- Wild students participated in the citizen science projects; the garden bird survey in July & the WHOLE class participated in the Great Kereru Count in September.
- Students created kereru window protectors.
Theme – Pest Preventers
Fairhaven Primary School students:
- Used a variety of pest monitoring methods (including tracking tunnels and chew cards) to locate pest animals in and around the school grounds.
- Learned how to identify pest footprints and teeth marks/chew marks on chew cards using identification guides. Tracked mice & insects.
- Visited Papamoa Hills Reserve with ranger Mark Ray (BOPRC) at the. Mark demonstrated a range of traps to the students including stoat traps, cat cages, rat bait stations. He talked about the rabbit problem there and how they use baits to help control the population.
- Learned how to identify pest footprints and teeth marks/chew marks on chew cards using identification guides.
- Created “Wanted” pest posters for display at school
- Uploaded posters and trip photos to Seesaw (classroom app) to share with parents.
- Participated in the national Landcare Research Garden Bird survey and added bird counts to the database.
Theme – Clean Streams
- Year 5-6 classes learn about where our water comes from (visual and interactive session), healthy stream vs unhealthy stream activities.
- Students assessed health of Ohineanganga stream through observation, collecting macro invertebrates and water quality tests. Students determined this stream to be in good health based on WQ results and range of macroinvertebrates. Results recorded.
- Collect and identify macroinvertebrates to help assess the stream health.
- Macrophotography and close observation of invertebrates