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Westlake Boys High School—16 June 2017

June 16, 2017

Year 11 geography students at Westlake Boys High School on Auckland’s North Shore are studying the Kaipara Harbour and how human activity can affect it.

To help the students gain a better appreciation of the extent of the harbour and the activities taking place in the area, the head of the geography department, Andy Jones, organized a field trip to the Kaipara for the students.

The class was broken into three groups and each group visited three venues–the jetty where the Hoteo River flows into the Kaipara, Muriwai Valley Farm, a sustainable farm operated by Bev Trowbridge and her husband, and CUE Haven.

For each group, we did a short program on the history of our restoration project, what we hoped to accomplish and the impacts our work was having on the Kaipara Harbour.

The first group of forty-nine students was accompanied by teachers Amy Bennett, John Foden and Susan Newby. For the past two years Amy has brought some of the Year 10 students to CUE Haven to help build walking tracks and it was great to see some familiar faces.

The second group of fifty students was led by teachers Andrew Clarke and Michael Tillett.

And the third group of thirty-seven was led by teachers Andy Jones and Jordan Stanley.

We started each session with some background information on CUE Haven and then talked about how the planting had affected water quality, erosion and land stability.

Thomas then took the students for a short walk in the bush to show them specific examples of how the restoration project had affected the land and how it was affecting our waterways and, ultimately the Kaipara Harbour.

The students saw some of the oldest and newest plantings and were able to compare them to the neighbours’ paddocks.

We visited the area where we had a land slip in 2016 so the students could see the cause and effect of the slip and see how remedial plantings were stabilizing the land.

The students also visited an old puriri tree which has recovered from years of possum browsing to see how the health of the tree was having a positive impact on other plants and animals.

We finished off with a walk through the wetlands so the students could see how planting improved water quality and reduced runoff and sediment.

It was a short visit but the students had a chance to see several different aspects of the property and asked a lot of good questions.

We have always hoped that CUE Haven will become an environmental education resource for the community and we are very happy to have schools like Westlake Boys use the space for learning.

We really enjoyed hosting the Westlake Boys students and sharing information about our project and its effects on the Kaipara Harbour.

Andy, thank you very much for arranging the sessions and for managing the day with military precision so that everyone was where they needed to be on time.  And a big thank you to the teachers for their valuable assistance.

We also want to thank the students for their time and attention.  We wish you all the best with your assignment and further studies and hope you will come back to CUE Haven to see more of the property.


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