Freshwater education

Freshwater habitats are abundant in Taranaki, with over 530 named rivers and streams. We can help your students learn how to monitor freshwater environments, including rivers, streams and wetlands.

Freshwater - Ngamatapouri School students study macro-invertebrates 

Streams and rivers

How healthy is your local stream? Assessing stream health involves investigating the water quality, the physical features of the stream and the plants and animals living in and alongside the stream. We can get your students actively involved with monitoring stream health by measuring and recording the following parameters:

Freshwater - Ngamatapouri School students study macro-invertebrates

  • Water velocity
  • Water temperature
  • Water clarity
  • pH
  • Conductivity
  • Stream bed composition
  • Stream bank vegetation
  • Macroinvertebrate Community Index (stream bugs)

We can guide the students to interpret the results so they can assess stream health and, if relevant, determine what can be done to improve stream water quality.

This activity is suitable for both primary and high school levels. More advanced analysis can be undertaken at high school level using the Stream Health Measurement Assessment Kit (SHMAK): link)

Freshwater - Ngamatapouri School students study by the stream


Wetlands provide important habitat for threatened species, remove pollutants from the water and act as a significant carbon sink. They are also under threat, with less than 10% of original wetland area remaining in Taranaki.

We can help support your students learn more about wetlands through providing a presentation and getting them activity involved in monitoring and restoring a local wetland if appropriate.

We can help get you up and running with a monitoring and restoration project using the WETMAK resource developed by NZ Landcare Trust: link)

Options for monitoring and restoration, depend on the suitability of the wetland and level/ability of your students and include:

  • Setting up photopoints.
  • Mapping wetland vegetation.
  • Conducting a weed survey.
  • Invasive predator monitoring and trapping (linking to Towards Predator-Free Taranaki).