Our education program started at Maketu Primary School in 2015, with seed funding from Western Bay District Council (WBOPDC). The 2016 school year was funded by WBOPDC, as well as Maketu Rotary, allowing us to include Paengaroa Primary in the program. In 2017 we were able to add Te Puke Primary with continued funding from WBOPDC, Maketu Rotary and new sponsor Te Puke Kiwicoast Lions Club. Our aim is to continue to include one new school each year.
Each term the program encompasses a classroom lesson and a field trip on different topic, such as native birds, plants, dunes, water quality/native fish and rocky shore ecology. This gives the children the chance to learn about our native wildlife, factors which are affecting its survival, and what can be done to help. On the field trips students have the opportunity to go bird watching, see pest trapping demonstrations, take part in planting days, and see ecological restoration in action.
Our aim is to encourage students to become kaitiaki for their local environment, through fun classroom activities and field trips, and for the students to be of “service to the community” through restoring the local ecology and creating artwork to showcase to the community. We hope to help them:
- Learn about the natural values in the local environment.
- Understand how these values have relevance for the future.
- Appreciate how they can affect these natural values and increase their importance now.
Additional one off education days are available to any school in the Bay of Plenty. Lessons can be catered to any age group, helpful teaching resources are provided and are delivered by MOWS Scientists. Field trips cost approximately $250 each (includes planning time, 2 presenters and a donation to MOWS).
Field trips are available on the following topics:
Option A) Native birds with a focus on sea birds, animal pests that impact on wildlife
Trip to Maketu Estuary or Little Waihi Estuary with a talk on seabirds and migratory species and how estuaries and coast provide habitats for them. Activities: Looking for birds, looking at bird anatomy with bird bones and wings, looking at taxidermy pest animals and traps.
Option B) Estuary Ecology
Estuary shellfish sampling using Marine Metres Squared Project. This lesson can include the history of Maketu estuary and the re-diversion of the Kaituna River.
Option C) Dune ecology and restoration
Dune talk and planting at Maketu Spit, Pukehina or Newdick’s Beach (only available if we have enough plants between May and August). Alternatively dune talk followed by removal of weed plants in the dunes.
Option D) Water quality and native fish
Talk on the impacts of land use on water quality and native fish habitats in the Kaituna River and the Bi de Lay wetland restoration works. Walk to Bi de Lay wetlands on the Kaituna River – water quality testing (turbidity comparison of farm drains, main river and wetland ponds), inanga spawning, bird spotting, fish/eel traps.
Option E) Rocky shore ecology
Rocky shore ecology presentation, adaptations of different animals found on the rocky shore. Trip to Newdicks Beach to walk around the rocky shore, looking at different animals found there (scavenger hunt activity).