Young conservationists talk at seminar
The future of the Hauraki Gulf will be in good hands if three northern students have anything to do with it.
Mahurangi College student Gala Emmerton, Charlotte Thomas from Red Beach, and Kaipara College student Paice Vaughn are all guest speakers at the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar on September 6.
Living on the edge of the Whangateau Harbour and neighbours with sea bird experts Chris Gaskin and Karen Baird, it’s probably not surprising that 12-year-old Gala has become enthusiastic about conservation.
After finding out about the plight of the critically endangered fairy tern – 45 remaining birds after a trip to the Mangawhai museum, Gala decided to fundraise for the Fairy Tern Trust by selling their badges.
She is looking forward to a summer trip to see tern chicks at one of the four breedings sites, Waipu, Mangawhai, Pakiri and Papakanui sandspit on the Kaipara Harbour, as a reward.
A novice at public speaking, she admits to being a bit nervous.
Researching gannet nesting at Muriwai and organising community science seminars is the focus for head student Paice Vaughn.
Already a seasoned conservationist at the age of 15, Charlotte Thomas is involved with bird banding and surveying, and organising students to make nesting boxes for penguins on Great Barrier.
This year’s seminar will focus on the birds that call the gulf their home, the issues they face, and efforts to understand and protect them.
A global seabird hotspot, New Zealand has the greatest diversity of seabird species in the world, the highest number of endemic species breeding here, with many in the Hauraki Gulf. This includes the New Zealand storm-petrel which, until recently, was thought to be extinct, and the black petrel that only breeds on Great Barrier Island and Hauturu/Little Barrier Island.
The youngsters will be rubbing shoulders with scientists, marine life experts, fishing industry representatives and others involved with the gulf, including Chris Gaskin, Leigh Fisheries manager Tom Searle and Tawharanui Open Sanctuary volunteer James Ross.
More Info: aucklandmuseum.com/whats-on/ series/hauraki-gulf-marine-parkseminar
Young conservationists Gala Emmerton, Charlotte Thomas and Paice Vaughn.