Our education program started at Te Kura o Maketu in 2015, with seed funding from Western Bay District Council (WBOPDC) as a way in which the volunteers in our group could interact with the local community and share our knowledge with the next generation.
With continued funding we have now expanded to include Paengaroa School, Te Puke Primary, Te Ranga, Pukehina, Pongakawa and Otamarakau Schools, as well as Te Puke Intermediate and almost every year level at Te Puke High School.
In 2019 we also partnered with Wild About NZ to run a wetland visit for Fairhaven School, and had sessions with under 5’s at Paengaroa Kindergarten, Learning Adventures, and Maketu Educare.
Each term is based around a theme and includes one field trip and two in class lessons. We are also working with schools to provide teaching resources and integrate the programme into the schools unit standards. 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 and understand how these values have relevance for the future.
- Give an understanding of how the environment nurtures us and how their actions can affect these natural values in a positive way.
- Build a sense of belonging to their community which will foster other positive behavioural attributes.
Over the year we focus on issues important to their local area, encouraging children to open their minds to question land use and our impacts on the environment. The lessons in class and in the field are all hands on with engaging education tools such as taxidermy pests, bird bones and wings, invertebrate collection.
We are really seeing how inspired the kids are and the importance of the programme, many of the primary students we work with are choosing to join the new Eco Learning unit at Te Puke Intermediate.
The programme has been very well received by schools and recently won the Western Bay Regional Trustpower Community Award for “Education and Child Youth Development”. We aim to continue to keep the environmental learning pathways open for tamariki.
The success of the programme is made possible thanks an amazing team of MOWS educators, our partnerships with Maketu Taiapure Trust, Bay Conservation Alliance and Learning Through Discovery, and funding from Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Maketu Rotary, TECT, and Bay Trust. The schools in our catchment are very privileged to have funding from Western Bay of Plenty District Council, WWF, TECT and Baytrust.
Click here to view a video created by Te Puke Primary students outlining their learning in 2017.
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)