- Identified invertebrates within local environment. Used pitfall traps and shake technique to survey. Investigated habitats and the protection for invertebrates
- School camp McLaren’s Falls (intro/student training incl next year’s classes): stream investigation and bush study
We have been very busy with a range of Wild actions underway with teacher Angela and a classroom of very keen kids.
- Tree planting in school grounds followed student survey of school grounds, local gardens and their own backyard to identify wildlife/biodiversity needs including food and water sources, habitat and protection for invertebrates.
- 5 minute bird counts and pest monitoring with PFO volunteers
- Rodent monitoring and trapping at sites within local reserves (waterview, Hamurana, Crapp)
- Wild research project results reported to parents through newsletters and display
- Installed bird tables and ‘bug habitat’ structures, constructed bird feeders
- Interschool Conservation Week competition
- Native bird and eel research projects including interactions with Elvis the eel!
A big adventure in our own ‘backyard’
Omokoroa Golf Club manager Adam has been working to increase the health of the stream that flows though the golf course.
Omokoroa Point Schools Room 7 and their passionate teacher Anglea armed with plenty of knowledge about eels and stream life went to investigate if all the hard work was paying off.
With the help of Paul our waterways expert and our Wild about New Zealand team we were able to find some amazing results. Andrew and Paul had set some fyke and G minnow nets the night before our adventure. These were carefully lifted and checked.
Kalani: “Inanga is a little white bait. You can actually see right through them!“
Simon “Paul taught us how you tell the difference, The dorsal fin is smaller on the short fin eel but it’s longer on the longfin eel.“
Paige and Cesar released the Eels back into the same stream.
Cesar: “Paige G and I released Tiny and Jumbo. The awesome thing was touching the Eels. They are so slimy and we were able to touch them carefully. Do you know Eels can travel over land and in water. It’s like wriggle, wriggle, wriggle. They keep themselves hydrated by releasing slime all over there body. They can survive around 3 days out of water.
Finally when we thought it could not get better we crossed the road into a wetland and pulled up the next fyke net.
Amelie: “I was gob-smacked when I saw the two male longfins and a giant female.”
Our Catch of the day was impressive:
Golf Club stream and ponds: 7 inanga, 4 shortfin eels (between 40 and 60cm)
Kaylene Place wetland: 3 longfin eels (between 90 and 120cm) and 1 giant bully (13cm)
The mysterious life cycle of eels hasn’t been solved yet. Find out more at www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/fish/eels/ and www.longfineel.co.nz/
Garden Bird Survey
This year “The Garden Bird Survey” collators will be surprised at the meaning of ‘garden’ birds heard and seen by the Children Omokoroa Points Room 7. This great group of environmentalists know how important it is to look closely and hear well when it comes to identifying wildlife. They had no trouble learning to identify the birds around them.
Amelie who is going to “grow up to be an Avian specialist” explained to us “that it is important to do the bird survey as we can help track how many birds there are in the area to see if the rats are still eating them.”
The results this year included two kereru enjoying the Puriri tree. Two Gannets using the school as a flight path to the sea and the OP school resident Herons Nigel and his bride. They also had plentiful supply of other native birds with sightings of piwakwaka (Fantails), tui, and several kingfishers. Other birds included blackbirds, house sparrows, gulls and some mynas.
The excellent volunteer work of ‘Pest Free Omokoroa’ have helped cull rat numbers in Omokoroa so we will definitely be getting in touch with them to show them our exciting results.
Other recent events
In March 2009 Year 5/6 assisted in the rescue and release of hundreds of Inunga trapped in water-holes created by localized high scale flooding. This activity captured the hearts and passions of the students who were able to see the effect of heavy rainfall on the environment and the species within it.
Room 5 students monitored their school grounds and local reserve for bird life, by looking, listening and observing different bird calls and movements and recording their data. Ms Kenny’s class had been listening to the bird calls on CD all week, so their skills were put into real world practice. The class returned from their different habitat types to discuss the varied results. The class concluded that the most abundant native bird life was found in the block of natives trees, highlighting the importance of specific tree types for the survival and visitation of our native birds in and to our suburbs
Small Pest Animal Monitoring
In May the students walked along the peninsula looking for pests (rodents and mustelids). It is part of a regular monitoring cycle to check on progress made by Omokoroa Pest Free. The incoming tide posed an extra challenge and shoes and socks were discarded. It all added fun and a challenge to a great outdoor environmental activity. Students were taken on a convenient walk from their school down to Precious Reserve and then along the beach towards Hamurana Reserve. 12 “Black trakka” monitoring stations were laid by the students one day and results gathered and recorded the following day.
While finding no rat or mice footprints is desirable, a variety of footprints brings out maximum student enthusiasm.
The used tracking prints were given to the students for further discussion and use in class by Mrs Kenny. For a full description of the monitoring results, click here.
Conservation Week 2008
In September Conservation week occurred, an annual Department of Conservation initiative, which saw the class involved in 3 seperate activities. This year’s theme was “Meet the locals”, encouraging New Zealanders to meet their local native fauna and flora.
First the class focussed on lizards, an unfortunately rare animal in the area. Students were excited by the lizard tracked earlier in the year during their trakka monitoring run so the reptiles were chosen as an animal to study. As well as an informative classroom session, students built a lizard house on the school grounds using materials from around the school. It is hoped lizards will migrate to the area and remain onsite for future students to study.
A second activity involved plant identification and the important difference between native and non-native plants, particularly the pest weeds in the area. A trip to a local reserve allowed students to gather samples of selected plants and make a herbarium. Additionally, during the trip a Weta Condo site was selected and Weta Condo attached to a suitable tree. Hopefully more local wetas will colonise the site, increasing the biodiversity in the area.
The final activity saw the class meet some avian and human locals! Pest Free Omokoroa volunteers conduct regular bird surveys in the area to monitor bird numbers and species. The students were classroom prepared all week by Mrs Kenny with bird call and bird image recognition. The class was divided up with PFO bird surveyers and 5 minute bird counts were conducted in locations close to the school. Students gained alot out of the activity, as previously many kids were unsure of some of our most common native birds! A big thank you to Trina Watts and her bird surveyers for helping on the day.
Water Quality Monitoring
In conjunction with World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD) Year 5-6 students took part in water quality surveying in the Puketoki Stream in Puketoki Reserve. WWMD aims to have people globally testing water quality and hope for 1 million participants in 100 countries. Student results are sent to the USA where the data is collated in a global review.
In groups, the students tested four main parameters: Water temperature, pH (acidity), turbidity (clarity) and dissolved oxygen. Average results:
|Average Test Results||Comments|
|Water temperature 15C||Good, if water temperature exceeds 25C it causes major distress to our native fish and animals|
|pH 6.5||Very good, perfect for a NZ stream.|
|Turbidity 110cm||Excellent, very clear water with little sediment. Sediment affects fish respiration and reduces plant photosynthesis|
|Dissolved Oxygen 15ppm (100%)||Excellent, maximum DO recorded. Animals and plants require at least 80% DO.|
In summary the students discovered the Puketoki Stream to be in very good health. Unfortunately heavy showers prevented the students from conducting a macroinvertebrate survey – much to the relief of wet parents who assisted in the transport to the Reserve! A big thank you to all who helped out on the day.