In­spired learn­ing

Northern News - - FRONT PAGE - BAY­LEY MOOR

A float­ing class­room ex­pe­ri­ence for Bay of Is­lands stu­dents is hoped to in­spire them to look after the en­vi­ron­ment.

The ini­tia­tive fa­cil­i­tated by

Project Is­land Song saw Pai­hia, Opua, Rus­sell and Riverview school stu­dents travel to Urupuka­puka Is­land to plant trees, build traps and learn about dif­fer­ent plant and an­i­mal species.

Project Is­land Song is a part­ner­ship be­tween the Guardians of the Bay of Is­lands, Te Rawhiti hapu (Ngati Kuta and Patukeha) and the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion.

The part­ner­ship is ded­i­cated to the wildlife sanc­tu­ary in the East­ern Bay of Is­lands known as Ipipiri.

Float­ing class­room co-ordinator Debby Bayens says the ini­tia­tive aims to nur­ture stu­dents’ in­ter­est in the en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘They are our fu­ture eco war­riors of the land and the sea, as well as for the is­lands in their own back­yard,’’ Bayens says.

The float­ing class­room project is con­ducted in three parts.

The first sees fa­cil­i­ta­tors visit the schools to share the story of Project Is­land Song, which aims to re­store the is­land’s en­vi­ron­ment through pest con­trol, plant­ing and weed­ing to cre­ate a pest-free sanc­tu­ary for na­tive wildlife.

Stu­dents then take a ‘‘tiki tour’’ around the is­lands, see and lis­ten to the birds, build a track­ing, trap­ping tun­nel, a DOC 200 rat and stoat trap and plant a tree, Bayens says.

They also tick off the ocean and shore birds they see in a work book, which opens their mind up to the num­ber of dif­fer­ent species in the en­vi­ron­ment.

Fi­nally the stu­dents pre­pare a pre­sen­ta­tion for Project Is­land Song to share what they have learnt and how they think they can help.

Bayens along with Naini Here­maia Black, BJ Black and Melissa Har­nett, have fa­cil­i­tated the float­ing class­room ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pai­hia School stu­dent Isa­iah, 10, says his favourite part of the trip was plant­ing the tree he nick­named lit­tle Bob ju­nior, ‘‘be­cause it helps the en­vi­ron­ment and gives birds more places to live’’.

Class­mate Tayla says she en­joyed mak­ing the traps which are used to catch rats and stoats.

Bella, 9, says she learnt how by trap­ping pests, you help the birds.

‘‘It was re­ally fun, get­ting mucky and see­ing the worms.’’

The chil­dren were lucky enough to see a pod of dol­phins on their trip.

Project Is­land Song are keen to ex­tend the pro­gramme to other schools.

If your school is in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing email info@pro­jec­tis­land­song.co.nz

❚ See more photos on page 7.

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