Pyes Pa School is situated in the sunny Bay of Plenty, just 10km south of Tauranga. It is a 6 teacher rural school with a roll of 160.The school has spacious well-sheltered grounds and a lovely section of native bush which the school eagerly uses. 2008 saw each class devoted to different environmental issues, from insects to weed and pest management.
Students from Gordon Blair’s year 5/6 class participated in a chilly watered koura survey. Koura surveys were initiated throughout NZ in March as part of March Monitoring Month’s Koura Kraze run by the Royal Society of New Zealand. Koura are freshwater crayfish and their presence or absence in a stream is considered a good indicator of whether a stream is healthy or not. Mr Blair’s class proved to have some experienced Koura “hunters” and 9 koura were found, recorded and gently returned to the Tautau stream. The data was entered into the national database.
Forest and Plant Management
Sonya Thompson’s senior class of year 7/8 took part in an afternoon of plant awareness and assessment. Using the school’s native bush block, students identified native trees, succession patterns and threats to our native forest ecosystem. Many students were unaware of introduced plants and their impacts. 5 of the most “pesty” weeds of the Bay of Plenty region were identified during the class’s investigation.
A classroom session also involved monitoring techniques to evaluate the health of our forests, including tracking small animals, possum signs and bird call recognition for bird surveys.