Featherston enviro students look out for wetlands
It's been another busy year for students at St Teresa's and South Featherston schools but caring for their environment has been high on their list. This year both schools have completed kaitiaki or guardianship projects that support neighbouring internationally significant wetland Wairarapa Moana and have celebrated this work to connect with the natural environment outside their school gates.
"These children are very passionate about their environment. We were delighted to support them as they explored ways of caring for Wairarapa Moana," says Greater Wellington Regional Council's Biodiversity Advisor Toni de Lautour.
St Teresa's students wanted to really understand how their community's actions were impacting on water quality, focussing their attention on nearby Donald's Creek. The school was awarded Bayer Primary School Science funding to pay for water quality monitoring equipment. They have learnt about stream health and established a data collection process. The second phase of their project will see the stream edge planted and the students will measure the impacts this work has on water quality at this site.
Featherston School students focussed on public awareness raising. Department of Conservation Senior Community Ranger Garry Foster presented them with certificates and reflected on their work to raise awareness of the human threat to rare birds breeding at Wairarapa Moana. Student's brightly coloured signs now adorn access points around the wetlands.
"The students really thought through one of the issues affecting some of our threatened bird species during the breeding season - alerting lakeside visitors. Unfortunately people sometimes ignore more corporate looking signs. The unique designs the students created really draw attention to the need for people to take action," said Foster.
GWRC contributes to environmental education in schools across the region. In South Wairarapa the Wairarapa Moana wetlands provide a focus for this work in collaboration with Enviroschools. Featherston and St Teresa's School students developed their kaitiaki projects through their participation in a freshwater conservation education programme the "Whitebait Connection".
Notes to Editors
- Arielle: I found making the bird signs fun because I like art. I also liked knowing that our work was for an important cause. When I saw the signs on the fences and gates for the first time I was amazed at how good they looked. They are so eye catching!
- Kolya: I really enjoyed the fact that what we were making was going to help some of our native birds. When I saw the signs for the first time I thought they looked really cool and I was pleased that people would be able to see them easily.
- Ilias: I enjoyed the artistic side of making the signs and the fact that we could be creative. It was cool to be able to do something I enjoyed and for it to be for a good purpose. I loved that they are actual signs now. I think they look great!
The Wairarapa Moana wetlands are managed by GWRC, the Department of Conservation, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangitāne o Wairarapa, South Wairarapa District Council and Papawai and Kohunui marae: waiwetlands.org.nz
For more: www.enviroschools.org.nz/in_your_region/wellington and www.whitebaitconnection.co.nz
Contact GWRC Communications on 021 914 266 or email@example.com
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