In this issue: Taranaki Taku Tūranga - Our Place, Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki; and joining hands with Enviroschools.
Tēnā koutou katoa. Two exciting news items to report in this SITE newsletter. Taranaki Taku Tūranga – Our Place, Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki, has been launched and we are encouraging schools to get actively involved in this large-scale, community-based project. This edition of SITE focuses on Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki and includes how you and your students can get on board. In short, if you are interested, get in touch (email@example.com) and we can hatch an exciting project plan based at your school or a suitable green space close to your school.
Also, the Taranaki Regional Council has expanded its commitment to environmental education and now supports the regional coordination of Enviroschools. The expanded Environmental Education team have plans in motion for widening their support of schools and kindergartens across the region. Watch this space for further Enviroschools developments and enjoy the Enviroschools newsletter which will be included with the SITE newsletter every term, starting with this issue. Nāku noa nā, Dr Emily Roberts.
Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki
Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki is the largest predator-free project of its kind in New Zealand (woohoo!) and we would love you and your school to become part of the action. It is an exciting opportunity for the whole region to work together to better protect native wildlife against introduced predators including rats, stoats and possums.
Given that so many species in New Zealand are endemic (found only in New Zealand) and threatened, this project provides an amazing opportunity for your school to make a real difference safeguarding species and helping Taranaki move towards being predator-free.
It will be rolled out across rural and urban land around the Mounga, starting around the New Plymouth, Oākura and Kaitake Range areas.
To be successful, the project requires the whole community to get on board with predator control being undertaken by local residents, farmers, community groups and schools, hopefully including yours. You can find out more about Towards Predator-Free Taranaki here at www.trc.govt.nz.
How can my school get involved?
A project can cater for a diverse range of students of different ages and abilities.
To hatch a plan that will suit you and your students, we are keen to brainstorm project ideas with you. We can then provide ongoing advice and support for your project and help source the monitoring and trapping equipment required.
In the first instance, we will focus on schools in the New Plymouth and Oākura areas where the programme is initially being rolled out. We are also keen to help schools elsewhere in the region get up and running with their projects.
If you are keen to get started, discuss ideas or have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tools and resources available
Get monitoring predators
It’s interesting and useful to discover what predators are in your area before you start your trapping programme. This information can help guide where best to place your traps.
Once you are up and running, it’s good to monitor for predators every six months or so to know what predators are still around and how successful your trapping programme has been. We can provide you with the tools needed to do this.
Tools for the job: Tracking tunnels and cards, chew cards and wax tags.
Your students might want to make their own trapping and monitoring equipment. We can provide the materials for trap boxes and there are lots of great resources online to make your own tracking tunnels and chew cards. Your students can also get creative, providing habitat for native wildlife by building wēta motels and bug hotels.
Tools for the job: See a useful index of suggestions and links on the Predator-Free NZ website(external link).
We can provide traps and advise on where best to place them and who should use them. We can also show you how to record catch data online using Trap NZ.
Tools for the job: Traps including T-rex snap traps and Victor traps - www.trap.nz(external link)
With help from Predator Free NZ, we have put together some Predator-Free School Guidelines (download as a PDF here or email us if you want them in Word format). There are also lots of fantastic resources available online.
Tools for the job:
- Predator Free School Guidelines [PDF, 634 KB]
- Predator Free NZ school resources(external link)
- Department of Conservation education resources(external link)
- Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust website(external link)
Get monitoring biodiversity
An important part of any predator control programme is to monitor how native wildlife is benefitting as a consequence. Conducting a BioBlitz every six months is good fun and your students will learn about all of the species in the local area that you are protecting.
You might prefer to take a more targeted approach and focus on one group of organisms. For example, if you’re interested in birds, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research have developed some great resources around how to conduct a bird survey. We are happy to provide advice and get you up and running with your monitoring programme.
Tools for the job: See NatureWatch NZ (inaturalist.nz)(external link) and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Reseach garden bird surveys(external link)
There are some great locations in Taranaki to learn more about the benefits of controlling predators and protecting native biodiversity. Here are three awesome venues to visit for field trips linking in with your predator control project: Pukeiti, Rotokare Scenic Reserve and Purangi Kiwi Project. Email them to find a suitable time to visit.
Get raising money for the school
If your school is willing to distribute traps to the local community, the Taranaki Regional Council can provide traps for free that can then be sold to raise funds for your school.
The Council can provide Towards Predator-Free Taranaki packs that include a trap, trap box, reusable bag, letterbox/fence badge and information about the project. This offer is initially directed towards schools within the New Plymouth and Oākura areas, and will subsequently be expanded around the region as the project grows.
The packs can then be sold on by the school for $10 each providing the money raised is put towards a good cause relevant to the school.
The vision of Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki is to better protect and restore native animals and plants. Many species are set to benefit from Taranaki moving towards being predator-free, including:
- Scarlet rātā vine
- Tomtit - miromiro
- NZ dotterel - tūturiwhau
We’d love to hear from your students about their aspirations and what we can achieve together through this project.
Download the full SITE newsletter and the Enviroschools newsletter in PDF format: