Kids Green­ing Taupō

Sarah Thorn­ton dis­cov­ers a Taupo- con­ser­va­tion project that is be­ing led by the same stu­dents it is ed­u­cat­ing.

Go Gardening - - Editorial -

Kids Green­ing Taupo- is a con­ser­va­tion ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme that is bring­ing bio­di­ver­sity back to the town, but un­like other com­mu­nity-run projects, it is the chil­dren of Taupo- who are run­ning the show.

Based on the ‘Kids Re­store the Ke­pler’ project in Te Anau, which has suc­cess­fully re­duced the num­ber of pests and brought back many species that were close to extinction, Kids Green­ing Taupo- shares the same ap­proach as the Fiord­land project with its strong em­pha­sis on youth in­volve­ment and lead­er­ship.

Ta­nia Wells is the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s (DOC) lo­cal ranger and has been in­stru­men­tal in get­ting Kids Green­ing Taupo- off the ground.

“A group trav­elled to Te Anau to see how the Ke­pler project was run and how they worked col­lab­o­ra­tively,” says Ta­nia. “Fol­low­ing that visit, a lo­cal work­ing group was set up com­pris­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Green­ing -TuTaupo-,TauharaCol­lege, whare­toa Ma- ori Trust Board and DOC.”

The project be­come a re­al­ity in late 2014, with an 18 month pi­lot pro­gramme now run­ning and in­volv­ing two kinder­gartens, two pri­mary schools and one col­lege. Ear­lier this year an ed­u­ca­tion co­or­di­na­tor was ap­pointed, funded by DOC lo­cally. Ad­di­tional fund­ing for a fur­ther two years has been se­cured through the DOC Com­mu­nity Con­ser­va­tion Part­ner­ship Fund.

“We started con­ver­sa­tions with schools and fund­ing groups around us­ing con­ser­va­tion as a con­text for learn­ing. Next we re­cruited schools and it was ev­i­dent there was a huge

“The im­por­tant thing about Kids Green­ing Taupo- is that kids are ac­tu­ally run­ning the pro­gramme.”

Stu­dents at­tend­ing bush kinder­garten

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