Wainui School—16 November 2016
Wainui School in rural north Auckland is one of the oldest schools in the North Island. The school was established in 1879 and the original school building is part of a museum exhibit in Auckland.
Today we had a great group of forty Year 3 and 4 students and 13 parents and teachers out for a day of learning and exploring.
The group arrived shortly after ten and we started with a quick morning tea and then a short introduction to the CUE Haven project and a safety briefing.
The plan for the day was for the students to do three activities. The first was potting up seedlings in the nursery, the second was a field study session on invertebrates and the last was a nature walk to learn more about native New Zealand plants and animals and our restoration work.
Because of the size of the group and the limited time available, we broke into two groups for the first two activities.
The first group joined Mahrukh in the nursery where they potted up kauri, miro, taraire and totara seedlings into bigger pots. Susan Waugh, one of the parents who came today is a horticulturalist and she conducted the session – training the students how to correctly pot the seedlings.
The students worked in teams and very quickly potted up a lot of seedlings into bigger pots.
As the students finished potting the seedlings, they placed them in the hardening up area of the nursery. The trees will stay in the nursery for a year or two until they are ready to be planted as infill trees in the bush.
At the end of the session, Mahrukh took some time to show the students how to identify some of the other trees in the nursery such as kahikatea, kowhai, lancewood, matai, nikau, rewarewa and pukatea.
In just an hour the two groups managed to re-pot over one hundred and twenty trees! Yay!
The session on invertebrates was conducted by one of the parents, Shanthie Walker, who is an environmental educator.
Shanthie had arrived earlier and set up work stations and experiments for the students.
The presentation began with an overview about invertebrates and insects and their role in the food chain and in ensuring the health of the environment.
Shanthie then led the students through a series of activities where they learned about the characteristics of insects and how to identify them based on their unique aspects such as whether they flew or walked, how many wings they have, etc. She gave the students picture cards to give them a chance to see different varieties of insects.
And then they went into the orchard to gather their own specimens to study and identify using magnifying glasses and field guides.
By digging in the leaf litter under the trees they found an amazing variety of worms and insects.
At the end of both sessions, the groups switched so that all of the students had a chance to do the bug hunt and pot up seedlings.
When all of the students had done each activity, Thomas took the entire group on a short walk in the bush.
Before we left on the walk, Thomas gave another short safety briefing and also talked a little bit about what they would see on the walk.
During the walk, Thomas pointed out some of the different planting areas to show the students how the trees were growing and explained the difference between wetland and non-wetland plantings.
The students had a chance to see the area where the landslip occurred during a heavy rain storm this past August, and Thomas explained why tree planting is important to help stabilize the soil.
Thomas explained some of the challenges that native New Zealand plants and animals faced because of introduced pest plants and animals. He explained the trapping activities at CUE Haven and demonstrated the tracking tunnels we use to monitor pest populations as well as the traps we use to control them.
The students also learned how to tell the difference between manuka and kanuka trees.
We finished up with a walk through the wetlands where the students got a chance to see the results of our trapping efforts in action—a big stoat had been caught in one of the DOC 200 traps along the boardwalk.
After the walk we had a quick lunch before the students left for their next visit.
We had a great day with the Wainui students and we’d like to thank Nestle NZ for their ongoing support and generously providing the delicious Nestle hot chocolate milk for the students, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
A big thank you to Daltons Landscape Supplies for their continued support of CUE Haven and for donating the potting mix used today.
Many thanks to the parents and teachers who came out and helped ensure that everything went smoothly. We enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you and look forward to seeing you again soon.
A special thank you to Shanthie and Susan for your help with the activity sessions.
And finally a very BIG THANK You to all the students and for your generous gift, too.
We really appreciate your efforts in the nursery. The trees you potted up today will be planted at CUE Haven once they become bigger and they will create the forest of long lived canopy trees that will be enjoyed for generations. What a wonderful contribution you have all made to our planet and our community!!
We were very impressed by how polite, motivated and enthusiastic you were. We appreciated all of your questions and hope you had a good time and learned a lot. We also hope you will come back for other fun and learning activities and also return with your families and friends to explore more of CUE Haven.