Predator Free New Zealand Trust has selected the ten schools (below) that will take part in the inaugural Kiwibank Predator Free Schools programme. Over 75 schools applied to be part of the programme and the Trust were impressed by the high calibre of applications and the exciting plans schools had to engage their students in the predator free vision. The high quality of the applications meant choosing the final ten was very difficult, as it meant turning away schools with great plans to make their school predator free.
Mangonui School, Northland
Located near Doubtless Bay with a view over Mangonui Harbour, Mangonui School was originally established in January 1858. The school put in place a planting programme 4 years ago as part of its project to restore their local maunga and now they want to start a trapping programme. The school plans to research and maintain traps for rats, stoats and possums. The programme will be linked to current learning around Māori tikanga, native planting and being a Kaitiaki of Papatūānuku (guardian of the land). They plan to transfer their learnings to help protect the nearby Rangikapiti Pa. The students are passionate about protecting the planet.
Belmont Primary School, Auckland
Located in Auckland’s North Shore, Belmont Primary School feels it is important for city children to learn about predator free New Zealand. After completing Conservation Week with Squawk Squad 2017 they are excited about the opportunity to create a predator free green space in school and encourage native birds back to the school grounds. The students will devise a system to record monitoring of traps and will continue to learn about taking care of our forests and endemic birds. Belmont Primary School has a very supportive community and plan to share their learning via social media.
Summerland Primary School , Auckland
Summerland Primary School is located in Henderson, Auckland. The teachers and students are working to make the school more environmentally responsible. The students are researching our native birds and threats to them and would love to make the school rat free to support birdlife. Summerland School has strong links to local experts who have already been in the school running activities and workshops for children. The building club is looking forward to using their skills to build tunnel boxes and seeing these utilised in the school. The teachers and students will monitor the traps and share data with the school at assemblies. The local community will be engaged through newsletters encouraging them to start thinking about their own properties with the message “our native birds need our help!”.
Goodwood School, Cambridge
Goodwood School is a rural school located outside of Cambridge in the Waikato, attracting a mix of both rural and town based children. The students have identified that predator trapping is essential and have developed a plan named “Predator Free Goodwood. Pest Free is the way to be!”. This is a project that the whole school will be involved in and includes undertaking bird counts, making their own tracking tunnels and identifying predators and tracking the number of catches using Trap.nz. They also plan to install a barometer sign on the school grounds showing pest reduction numbers. The students are excited about extending this programme to the wider school community over time by inviting other schools in the area to learn about the project.
Lynmore School, Rotorua
Lynmore School, which is located in Rotorua City, has native bush within the school grounds. The school’s Enviro Club has been focussed on looking after the Waitawa Bush by removing invasive plants and animals. They currently have two active traps on loan until the end of the year and will look to replace and grow this number with the Kiwibank Predator Free School funding. Lynmore School is developing an outdoor classroom within the bush for the whole school to access and has recently established a chicken coop within the area. The trapping programme fits perfectly into their key goal to create citizen scientists that will make New Zealand even better.
Wellington East Girls’ College, Wellington
Wellington East Girls’ College is a large urban secondary school that backs onto the Wellington Town Belt. The school grounds has a number of small native gardens which are a good habitat for native birds. Initially they will purchase chew cards and tracking tunnels to establish predator population density and diversity. Funding will also support the purchase of traps and equipment to build tunnel boxes. Two Year 9 classes will run “Predator Free Wellington East Girls College” and each year new Year 9 classes will inherit, maintain and expand the programme to ensure longevity. The rest of the school will be engaged with hub projects and student blogs. Predator Free WEGC will close the land gap between the many predator free groups in the area and provide a safe haven for native bird species.
Otari School, Wellington
Located in Wilton, Wellington, Otari School is right next to Otari-Wilton’s Bush (New Zealand’s only public botanic garden dedicated solely to native plants). As a result the school grounds are visited by a lot of native birds and Otari School want to support these birds by reducing predator numbers. Children will be investigating threats to native birds and why those predators are a threat. They will work out what threats are within the school grounds and then look to trap remove these in a humane way. The success of their trapping will be monitored and reported regularly in the school newsletter. The schools location is precious and unique and they look forward to their children being kaitaki of this area and learning from, whilst supporting, Otari-Wilton’s Bush.
Grovetown School, Blenheim
The students of Grovetown School in Blenheim have wanted to start trapping for some time. They have recently completed approx 700m2 of native planting to encourage bird life and know that predator control is the next step. Chew cards have already been used and monitoring is done. The Kiwibank Predator Free School traps will be placed around the school and the trapping team will collect data which will be graphed and analysed in the classroom. Trap clearing will be done during morning tea and lunchtime. They also plan to have a roster for looking after the traps in the school holidays. The students love being outdoors and active and the school supports this with an extensive vegetable garden, orchard, berry patch, beehives, chickens and a forest where they can build huts, ride bikes and climb trees. In addition to trapping on the school grounds they also support the local Te Whanau Hou Grovetown Lagoon Restoration Project.
Queen Charlotte College, Picton
Situated in Picton, Queen Charlotte College has lots of vegetated areas in the school grounds which shares a boundary with the Victoria Domain. Their objective is to make Queen Charlotte College predator free, helping the local community area achieve the same goal. Kiwibank Predator Free Community, Picton Dawn Chorus will support the school and help with the implementation of the programme. The trapping will link to Year 9 Social Studies and Science and it will form part of the assessment for a Level 1 NCEA standard in Geography for Year 11 students. The school is excited about contributing to the vision of predator free Picton by facilitating the involvement of the younger generation and encouraging students to share what they are doing with their families.
St Anne’s Catholic School, Christchurch
St Anne’s Catholic School shares a boundary with Steam Wharf stream in Woolston, Christchurch which is a spawning ground for whitebait. In order to support the return of inanga to post Earthquake Christchurch the school will focus its predator trapping on rats. Rats eat inanga eggs once they are exposed on the stream bank. EOS Ecology has teamed up with St Anne’s Catholic School to undertake pest monitoring and will help them engage with the wider conservation network and bring in experts to talk to the students. The students love looking after the environment and are happy that their trapping will benefit not just bird life but fish too.