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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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