Dark future for Taranaki pests
The future’s looking bright as a growing number of schools jump onto Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, safeguarding local biodiversity.
“Having students, teachers and school communities on board is a massive boost, helping unite our community,” says Toby Shanley, ecologist and Towards Predator-Free Taranaki project manager.
“Through participating in the project, our youth are discovering the natural wonders which make Taranaki so special and what it takes to protect them”.
Toby says there are a number of ways schools can be involved, including distributing traps to their local communities as a school fundraiser — helping achieve the project’s target of getting traps into one in five New Plymouth backyards — or participating in the Council’s environmental education programme.
Other Taranaki schools will be able to participate in Towards Predator-Free Taranaki and sell traps as a fundraiser, as the project expands around the region.
Woodleigh School student Kiara Scott, 8, squealed with delight after catching her first rat at her Whalers Gate home.
“I want to catch more rats to protect our birds and plants — I check our trap a lot. I want to catch more,” she says.
Woodleigh School in New Plymouth is one of eight district schools selling subsidised rattraps for $10 as a fundraiser and trapping on school grounds, helping Towards Predator-Free Taranaki and local biodiversity.
Woodleigh School teacher Julie Neilson says Kiara is one of many enthusiastic trappers at the school. The school is excited to be using the Towards Predator-Free Taranaki project to engage with students and as a local fundraiser that supports students and local biodiversity.
However, helping getting traps in New Plymouth urban backyards is just the beginning.
Taranaki Regional Council Education officer Dr Emily Roberts says the schools’ programme is at the heart of the Towards Predator-Free Project — and it’s not just about trapping rats!
“Teaching our tamariki about the vulnerability of native species and the need to protect them from the threat of predators is critical’.
“We can work with schools to hatch an exciting restoration project plan for your grounds or nearby green space, tailoring it to your school’s needs, and diverse student ages and abilities, ” she says.
“Schools can make their own monitoring equipment, or get creative with bug hotels and we¯ ta motels. We can incorporate biodiversity monitoring and field trips to nearby natural areas, showing how wildlife is benefiting as a consequence of predator control.’
■ Contact Taranaki Regional Council on educa[email protected] or 0800
736 222 if your local school would like to get involved with Towards Predator-Free Taranaki.
More schools are joining each week, so to find a rat-trap your local school visit: www.trc.govt.nz/environment/
Kiara Scott, 8, from New Plymouth’s Woodleigh School is one of hundreds of students lining up to protect local biodiversity by getting trapping for Towards Predator-Free Taranaki.