Wainui focus on predator pests

Learning to protect native birds from predators.

Learning to protect native birds from predators.

Wainui Beach School teacher Nic Shand with pupils Ivy McMillan, Ella Wilson, Rori Fukushima-Hall and Jaxon Allan alongside Nga Manu Waiata spokesperson and ecologist Abigail Salmond. The room 5 pupils are embarking on a pest predator monitoring project with support from the Nga Manu Waiata group and DoC. Picture by Liam Clayton

Predator pest eradication control efforts in the Wainui, Okitu and Makorori areas are gaining momentum as a community-led action group launches new initiatives.

Nga Manu Waiata (The Bird Song Project) formed earlier this year to facilitate predator pest mammal control and it has developed a project in conjunction with the Department of Conservation to expand predator trapping and monitoring involving the local school.

Nga Manu Waiata spokeswoman Abigail Salmond spoke to pupils at Wainui Beach School this week and said it was essential to educate kids about predator pests and the threats to native biodiversity.

“I was really impressed with how much the students already knew.

“Most of the kids had seen rats or some type of special bird which had piqued their interest, or got them excited, so the idea of protecting birds from rats was easy for them to understand.”

“It’s awesome that Wainui Beach School is getting pupils involved in this work so they can understand how important it is to ensure the survival of native biodiversity in their own neighbourhood.

Department of Conservation community engagement supervisor Charles Barrie said the leadership shown by the Nga Manu Waiata group had provided multiple opportunities for tackling a challenging problem.

“Trapping can be difficult on a small scale or in a confined area, as you can create a vacuum of sorts.

“The area you clear is easily repopulated by pests migrating in from the surrounding environment.

“With a network of surrounding trapping provided by the community, we can produce far more substantive outcomes.”

As a result of these efforts, pest predator trapping is about to get under way for the first time at Okitu Scenic Reserve.

Mr Barrie said the collaborative approach driven by Nga Manu Waiata was key to any success.

“We have consulted with local iwi who have given their blessing for the work to occur and also have additional support from the Gisborne branch of Forest and Bird.”

Curriculum material developed by DoC called “enhancing biodiversity in your green space’’ focuses on understanding the biodiversity of the surrounding environment and was presented to Room 5 pupils who will embark on a predator monitoring project.

“The involvement of the school is also a fantastic collaboration, which has come about because of Nga Manu Waiata’s links in their community,” said Mr Barrie.

“Through the ‘greenspace’ curriculum, kids can start to research animals that exist in their environment and learn what must happen to ensure the vulnerable ones are protected.”

A field trip to Okitu Scenic Reserve introduced pupils to the reserve, trap- setting and tracking tunnels.

While the setting of traps is beyond the age of these pupils, Mrs Salmond said it was important to show the pupils the importance of their involvement.

“The idea is to send kids home with tracking tunnels to see what they discover.

“The tunnels will produce footprints of different animals living or exploring through the kids’ neighbourhood.

“As part of their research into animal pests, our hope is they will develop an increased awareness and share what is happening in their back gardens with their parents and families.”

A website has also been launched by Nga Manu Waiata to log successful trapping efforts and create an online map to identify areas of high predator populations.

The website uses Geographical Information Systems technology and, with the help of volunteer expertise, will become available to the wider community and the students at Wainui Beach School to monitor their progress.

“It’s really cool to see kids getting interested in native biodiversity and the very real threats to native species that occurs in our backyards,” said Mrs Salmond.

“We are excited to see things develop from where we first started and hope this will be a further catalyst for getting more of the community involved.”

Predator pest eradication control efforts in the Wainui, Okitu and Makorori areas are gaining momentum as a community-led action group launches new initiatives.

Nga Manu Waiata (The Bird Song Project) formed earlier this year to facilitate predator pest mammal control and it has developed a project in conjunction with the Department of Conservation to expand predator trapping and monitoring involving the local school.

Nga Manu Waiata spokeswoman Abigail Salmond spoke to pupils at Wainui Beach School this week and said it was essential to educate kids about predator pests and the threats to native biodiversity.

“I was really impressed with how much the students already knew.

“Most of the kids had seen rats or some type of special bird which had piqued their interest, or got them excited, so the idea of protecting birds from rats was easy for them to understand.”

“It’s awesome that Wainui Beach School is getting pupils involved in this work so they can understand how important it is to ensure the survival of native biodiversity in their own neighbourhood.

Department of Conservation community engagement supervisor Charles Barrie said the leadership shown by the Nga Manu Waiata group had provided multiple opportunities for tackling a challenging problem.

“Trapping can be difficult on a small scale or in a confined area, as you can create a vacuum of sorts.

“The area you clear is easily repopulated by pests migrating in from the surrounding environment.

“With a network of surrounding trapping provided by the community, we can produce far more substantive outcomes.”

As a result of these efforts, pest predator trapping is about to get under way for the first time at Okitu Scenic Reserve.

Mr Barrie said the collaborative approach driven by Nga Manu Waiata was key to any success.

“We have consulted with local iwi who have given their blessing for the work to occur and also have additional support from the Gisborne branch of Forest and Bird.”

Curriculum material developed by DoC called “enhancing biodiversity in your green space’’ focuses on understanding the biodiversity of the surrounding environment and was presented to Room 5 pupils who will embark on a predator monitoring project.

“The involvement of the school is also a fantastic collaboration, which has come about because of Nga Manu Waiata’s links in their community,” said Mr Barrie.

“Through the ‘greenspace’ curriculum, kids can start to research animals that exist in their environment and learn what must happen to ensure the vulnerable ones are protected.”

A field trip to Okitu Scenic Reserve introduced pupils to the reserve, trap- setting and tracking tunnels.

While the setting of traps is beyond the age of these pupils, Mrs Salmond said it was important to show the pupils the importance of their involvement.

“The idea is to send kids home with tracking tunnels to see what they discover.

“The tunnels will produce footprints of different animals living or exploring through the kids’ neighbourhood.

“As part of their research into animal pests, our hope is they will develop an increased awareness and share what is happening in their back gardens with their parents and families.”

A website has also been launched by Nga Manu Waiata to log successful trapping efforts and create an online map to identify areas of high predator populations.

The website uses Geographical Information Systems technology and, with the help of volunteer expertise, will become available to the wider community and the students at Wainui Beach School to monitor their progress.

“It’s really cool to see kids getting interested in native biodiversity and the very real threats to native species that occurs in our backyards,” said Mrs Salmond.

“We are excited to see things develop from where we first started and hope this will be a further catalyst for getting more of the community involved.”

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