Meet the 17 winners of the 2020 Taranaki Regional Council Environmental Awards.
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Ōpunake High School and Ōpunake Loop Trail Trust - for incredible effort and enthusiasm for protecting and improving the local environment and inspiring others to take positive action
The High School and the Trust are leading players in a massive environmental restoration project encircling Ōpunake and involving scores of townsfolk of all ages. The popular walking and cycling Loop Trail has been extended into a complete circuit, with volunteers from many groups busy planting 3000 donated natives along its complete length. Their 10-year goal is 20,000 plants. High School students are building, and managing predator traps along its length of the track. The school’s also donated 300 plants, and students have cut donated carpet into squares for weed suppression. This multi-generational project deepens residents’ enjoyment of the environment and healthy living. It also reflects the High School’s status as a Silver Enviroschool with a strong focus on sustainability.
Auroa School - for outstanding effort developing innovative pest animal trapping technologies to improve trapping methods and practices
Auroa School and its students have gone a step beyond taking a bull by the horns. They’re taking the predator by the ears! They’re developing innovative sound lures to make predator trapping more effective and efficient. The lures emit sounds designed to make predators curious. It’s been an inexact science, with a limited possum lure already avalable. But led by deputy principal Myles Webb, the students are developing smart lures to also attract stoats, ferrets and rats at the most effective time for each. Their original aim was to protect whio on nearby Kaūpokonui Stream but their work is attracting nationwide interest, with trials across Taranaki and beyond. The project won initial support via the national Curious Minds citizen science platform.
Mimi School - for empowering students to take action to build a sustainable community through an amazing array of environmental projects
Mimi School students are making a real difference in their local environment. They’re actively involved in projects to protect and improve the environment throughout their popular but sensitive coastal home turf. And they’re enriching their cultural understanding as well as their knowledge of science and nature. They’re monitoring water quality at the Mimitangiauta estuary, protecting kororā (little blue penguins) and shorebirds by trapping predators and erecting signs, planting dunes at Onaero Beach, replanting a stream gully on school grounds and running regular clean-up days at local beaches. Much of this work is in close collaboration with Ngāti Mutunga, giving students insights into kaitiakitanga. The estuary monitoring is part of an iwi-led project under the national Curious Minds citizen science platform.