Hurupaki School wetlands education day

On Wednesday, 9 August a Wetland Education Day was held at Hurupaki School, a primary school in Whangārei District with a wetland on their grounds.

Hurupaki is a silver Enviroschool and wanted to engage their tamariki with the wetland, to give them a greater understanding of the importance of these vital ecosystems and how to take care of them.

The Wetland Education Day aimed to instil this learning, as well as a sense of responsibility for the environment and the children’s role as kaitiaki. The Education Day will be followed by a planting day, where students will develop their sense of kaitiakitanga by planting native species.

Hurupaki School accessed funding from Toimata Foundation, through their One Billion Trees partnership, to support their wetland and they worked with NRC’s Enviroschools and Biodiversity teams to facilitate the learning and planting. Representatives from across NRC departments, including Enviroschools, Biodiversity, Biosecurity and Kauri Protection, as well as staff from Eco-Solutions, engaged the school of 300 students.

The Wetlands Education Day began with NRC and Eco-Solutions staff gathered outside the school hall where they were welcomed by students in a haka pōwhiri. The whole school congregated for this welcome and it set the tone for a special day.

During the event, students learnt about the important role that wetlands play in ensuring clean, healthy water, and about the unique fauna and flora they support.

Girls looking at insect larvae.

Students identify some of the insect larvae found in the Hurupaki School wetland.

Games were played, bug hotels were built, and wetland plants were identified. Students also learnt about the threats posed by pest plants and animals and how to mitigate these. All the learning took place outside of the classroom on school grounds, in and around the wetland.

After the event, Danny Clarkson, Principal of Hurupaki School commented: "There has been heaps of positive feedback from staff with a number of them saying they learnt a lot themselves. Environmental education is such an important part of our learning but can often not receive the time it deserves. Having days like this in our school really brings it to the forefront again and helps our students and teachers learn more about the amazing environment that we have here at Hurupaki."

Biosecurity officer with a group of children.

Biosecurity Officer, Bryn Gillard, introduces students to a pest plant scavenger hunt in the Hurupaki School wetland.

Children near gazebo.

Students get ready to start the scavenger hunt.