Dark fu­ture for Taranaki pests

Stratford Press - - News -

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/

work­ing-to­gether/pf-taranaki2050/

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.

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