Young con­ser­va­tion­ists talk at sem­i­nar

Rodney Times - - OUT & ABOUT - DELWYN DICKEY

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

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Young con­ser­va­tion­ists Gala Em­mer­ton, Char­lotte Thomas and Paice Vaughn.

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