Omokoroa Point School is a Decile 9 full primary school (Year 1 to Year 8 – N.E. to Form 2) with seven classrooms. It is the only school on the peninsula and is located in possibly the most scenic school setting in NZ. They have been involved in WaNZ projects for a number of years with the strong support of principal Vicki Nell and Pest Free Omokoroa. The group is currently made up of 13 senior students (years 6-7-8).
Term 1 the group undertook a freshwater survey down at Kaylene Place with eel expert Paul Woodard. The ponds in the golf course have been quite well populated with eels in the past but we foiund nothing this time, but we did find giant longfins (the rare species) just upstream of Kaylene Place crossing. Our students were enthralled, especially when they were released close to the stream edge and we could see how their long sleek bodies slither then glide when they enter the water!
In terms 2 & 3 the students conducted 5-minute bird surveys at the school grounds, Hamurana Reserve and Precious Family reserves. They also took part in the annual Landcare Research garden bird survey.
In spring, the students made bird feeders using natural materials such as pinecones, hessian sack, wool, fruit, bird seed and suet and their own ingenuity to come up with a variety of styles. They then hung in the trees at school as a yummy treat (and so we could observe birds more closely!).
During term 3 the group took part in the largest national citizen science project, “The Great Kereru Count” to help gather information on the abundance and dispersal of the New Zealand wood pigeon also known as – kereru, kuku or kukupa. http://greatkererucount.nz/ The students tested their knowledge on all things kereru and learnt why this bird is so important in the dispersal and germination of many native plants.
In term 4 the group conducted a “seabird survey” from the Cooney Reserve bird platform with local “twitchers” Wendy and Allen Fox. It was great hearing about the types of seabirds Wendy and Allen have seen locally and having them to help identify the birds we saw.
Term 4- The godwits start returning to the shores around Omokoroa peninsula from early October, so the group will continue furthering their knowledge on these local migrants and to welcome them we will be doing so chalk art so watch this space!
In term 3, the students created a short film for a DOC competition called “Habitat Heroes”. The group set about investigating the health of Hamurana Reserve and its environment, explaining what monitoring they had done and what they thought needed to be done to help improve it. Here is the link to the awesome video they made!
The students also did some small mammal monitoring (using tracking tunnels) at Hamurana Reserve and helped to identify and analyse the animal prints from Pest Free Omokoroa’s trakka cards.
See Omokoroa rodent monitoring for more information!
We have been discussing what makes an animal a pest by playing “possum picnic”. This outdoor activity presents ideas about the impact introduced animal species have on our natural environment. http://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/conservation-education/resources/possum-picnic/
We constructed 5-star weta motels for Hamurana Reserve, which we move around from time to time trying to identify an area more likely
to attract weta. So far it has been more of a slater and cockroach motel!
In term 4 our group created two new 1-star weta motels out of bamboo, one for Precious Reserve (and we feel optimistic that this motel will attract weta) and the other for our school grounds. We are less optimistic about that one.
“It’s going to be better because its more natural place” says Freya.
“Different creatures like different things, so instead of it being wood (like the 5 star weta motel) it is bamboo. It might attract things differently, and hopefully it attracts weta!” Rogan
Recently the group established two pitfall traps, one on the school grounds and one near Precious Reserve. We are looking forward to seeing what we can find in term 4.