Omokoroa No.1 School

2019

Term 2

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

Actions

  • 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 used different monitoring methods in their local reserve to detect the presence of other pests (including possums and mustelids).
  • 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 visited Jess Rd estuary with Scott Sambell from Ethos Environment and his rodent dog Millie. Millie showed the kids her rodent tracking skills and Scott talked about the trapping programmes in the area and the benefits of it.

Term 1

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

Actions

  • 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
  • Students from No.1 visited the stream near their school then they visited the stream in Puketoki reserve at the top of Whakamarama.  They assessed the health of each and discussed the differences. We noticed at big difference in the clarity of the water between the streams, Puketoki was super clear we even saw 2 Koura (freshwater crayfish) from the bank. We were also visited by a fantail and robin at Puketoki. Each group made a slide presentation or poster to compare the results gathered from the two sites which was presented to other students.
  • set up an insect motel.

2018

Objectives

  • Continue strengthening relationships with the key teachers and principal, providing them with information, updates, photos, blog and resources.
  • Continue to communicate with the wider community about protecting and enhancing biodiversity in Omokoroa and Plummers Point via articles on the school website, school newsletter (going our to over 300 local residents) and Wild NZ blog.
  • Contact local volunteer conservation community group/s.

Term 4

Theme – Forest ecology and mini beasts

Actions:

  • 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.

Summary:

  • Students walked around the school and learnt how to correctly identify the common native tree species and 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, 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, brought back their finding to the group then identified which leaves came from which trees and plants using ID guide books. 
  • Wild about NZ students supported the Environment team with their bug motels, by getting each class to fill their box with different materials in which bugs could live. The boxes are now completed and displayed at the school. We look forward to checking our what’s living in there in 2019!
  • Students visited the Blade forest and did a nature “colour” walk where they found all the colours of the rainbow in nature + 3 koura found in the stream.

Term 3

Theme – Overheard the bird (native & non-native bird species)

Actions:

  • 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

Summary:

  • 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 Huharua Reserve). Finding out about flight patterns & behaviour helped students identify birds too.
  • The students visited Huharua Reserve at the end of Plummers Pt Rd and observed the birds on the point and around the estuary. Matching bird’s beaks and feet to where it lives and what it eats was a great detective exercise.
  • Students visited Puketoki Reserve and conducted 5 min bird counts of forest birds, many of which are likely to fly down to parts of Omokoroa to feed.
  • Wild students participated in two citizen science projects; the annual garden bird survey in July & the Great Kereru Count in September.
  • Students created kereru window protectors.

Term 2

Theme – Pest Preventers

Actions:

Omokoroa No.1 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 The Blade with Scott Sambell (Ethos Environmental). Scott brought along his rat dog Milly and demonstrated the awesomeness of Milly’s predator tracking skills by hiding a frozen rat for her to find. He also bought along some of the equipment he uses in the field, including a night camera. Afterwards we walked a trapline and discussed the predator control in place.
  • Learned how to identify pest footprints and teeth marks/chew marks on chew cards using identification guides.
  • Created “Wanted” pest posters for displays at school.
  • Participated in the national Landcare Research Garden Bird survey and added bird counts to the database.

A big thankyou to Jose Law (Pest Free Omokoroa), Francis Orr and Peter Cross (Te Puna Quarry Park), Mark Ray (BOPRC), Scott Sambell (Ethos Environmental) and the Pennell family (Blade Project).

Term 1

Theme – Clean Streams

Actions:

  • Introduction session to a classroom of year 5 & 6 students, learning about where our water comes from (visual and interactive session), healthy stream vs unhealthy stream activity and watched a short film on how to identify macro-invertebrates to bring it all together.
  • Assessment of local stream health (Emeny Rd) rural semi-bush clad stream, close to the school. Students observed and recorded the streams surroundings and features. They then tested the water clarity, temperature, Ph test, stream velocity and searched for macroinvertebrates using nets. Using all these monitoring techniques the students decided that the stream was moderately healthy. Results recorded.
  • Identification of macroinvertebrates to help assess the stream health.
  • Macro photography of invertebrates
  • Students are presenting their findings back to their peers regularly using posters and slide presentations they have created. A display was also put up in the multi-media room.
  • Students also visited the stream in Puketoki reserve (bush clad stream) and assessed its health. This stream is nicely shaded by native forest, providing cool, clear, fast moving water. A very healthy habitat for native invertebrates to thrive in. Results recorded.
  • Eel net and minnow trap set in Puketoki. 1 long fin caught and 5 koura.
  • Long fin eel activity given to the teachers.