Every year we select up to twenty schools to be part of of Predator Free Schools programme. This programme has a focus on teaching kids about what makes NZ’s native species special and how introduced predators impact their survival. It also encourages them to take collective action for the care of the environment.
As part of the programme, schools are provided with a ‘starter pack’ containing a selection of chew cards and tracking tunnels to identify what introduced predators and native species are present on their school grounds. Together with the schools we then provide a range of humane traps to make their school grounds predator free. The programme also supports the installation of wētā houses, lizard gardens and bird feeders for the school.
What kind of support does a Predator Free School receive?
If you are selected as one of our Predator Free Schools, your class will receive:
- a ‘starter pack’ which includes monitoring equipment to enable students to investigate and identify any introduced predators living on their school grounds or local green space
- relevant teaching resources to support outdoor investigations and learning in class
- a budget of up to $500 for traps and outcome focused items such as wētā houses, lizard gardens and bird feeders.
Students will be encouraged to monitor the variety of native species that live in their community and what can be done to help them, detect what predators are in their school environment and where they occur, and place a network of traps around their school grounds.
Which are the exisiting Predator Free Schools?
We currently support 31 schools around the New Zealand. They are a combination of urban and rural schools. Find out more about them.
How can a school become a Predator Free School?
Applications to be part of the 2020 Predator Free Schools programme will be open from 23 September till 20 October 2019. The online application form will be available on this page. Sign up to our newsletter to make sure you are notified.
In the meantime, check out the resources we have collated to help schools get started on their predator free projects.
Who can apply?
Teachers of students in years 4-8 for the year 2020. Applications are limited to one class per school (approximately 30 students).
Successful applicants will receive the programme information in early December 2019 to enable planning for Term 1 2020.
How much funding could we potentially receive and what will it cover?
Successful applicants will receive a start up kit with monitoring supplies and up to $500 worth of trapping equipment. This will depend on the size of your school and what you are trying to achieve. We will discuss individual needs with each successful school.
The funds can be used to purchase traps, pre-made tunnels, wētā motels and bird feeders. Supplies for making tunnels can also be purchased using the funds.
What predators are targeted as part of this funding?
The programme focuses on the removal of introduced rats, possums, stoats, ferrets and weasels.
What will be inside our starter pack?
The starter pack will include tracking tunnels, chew cards and teaching resources related to monitoring and protecting our native species. There will also be posters, stickers and learning resources. The starter pack will be sent out early 2020.
Schools are encouraged to monitor which introduced predators and native species are present on their school grounds before they begin trapping. Once you know what is present we will discuss what equipment you may need.
We will purchase and supply all products.
What traps will be used?
This will be discussed with each school based on their monitoring results. All our traps have been humanely tested and meet the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) guidelines. Traps are provided in tunnels so they are safe for children or pets.
Can we make our own traps?
Yes! Schools are able to make the wooden tunnels that the traps sit within. We will provide a tunnel template and fund the building materials. Schools are also encouraged to make their own tracking tunnels and chew cards as part of the monitoring stage.
What about kid and pet safety?
Great care is being taken to avoid harm to children and pets. All the rat traps that are supplied come in tunnels that protect pets (and kids) from the trap itself.
Other than trapping what can schools do?
Schools are encouraged to monitor which introduced predators and native species are present on their school grounds before they begin trapping.
Students can also build/place bird feeders, lizard gardens and wētā hotels on the school grounds to encourage native species to thrive.
Are there any resources available to support the roll out of a predator control programme in schools?
There are a range of resources available for you to use in the school kete.
Teaching resources will also be sent out to with the ‘starter kit’. These will be publicly available on our school resources page too.
What are schools expected to do in return?
We are keen to share your stories about your predator activities – the good, the bad and the ugly. This helps others learn from your experiences and may encourage other schools to take up the predator free challenge.
We would also like to know the results of your monitoring and trap catches.
We hope this programme is something the class embraces and shares with the wider school as part of its environmental programme.