Teens keen to engage with nature
Posted at 6:00am Thursday 24 Dec, 2020 | By Wai Wānaka
WAI Wānaka team members spent three days this month working alongside Year 10 students from Mount Aspiring College (MAC) on the lakefront with another day supporting the Waterwise Otago Leadership Program for young adult leaders from across Otago.
WAI Wānaka is developing a citizen science programme on the lakefront area between Bullock Creek and the Wānaka Marina, where QLDC will undertake large scale planting next year partly to develop a wetland ecosystem. The MAC students learned about biodiversity monitoring and fieldwork methodology through sampling, surveying and identifying local flora and fauna. The project will initially gather baseline data on biodiversity then monitor how the area changes over time.
John Darby kicked off each day talking to the students about the Grebe program, sharing details on Grebe nesting behaviour and how this population has grown since the program started.
James Crofts-Bennett, currently completing a masters degree in arachnology at the University of Otago, shared his enthusiasm for spiders and bugs by helping MAC students learn about and identify those discovered on the day. Students developed non-lethal traps along the lakefront to provide an indicator of species distribution for the mobile invertebrates that currently inhabit the area.
The Waterwise Otago program focuses on water and biodiversity. Each year students come together for a week to be involved in activities around water quality, use, availability, and economics. For 2020, WAI Wānaka arranged for the students to spend a day on farm with local landowners from Criffel Station and Black Peak Farming, learning about water use, farming methods, pest management and soil health. Students also learned about the common goals shared by landowners in the Luggate Catchment group, and how they are working together to achieve similar outcomes across diverse land types and different land uses.
It was a fun day, providing inspiration to students on the connection of water to everything we do and showcasing what can be done when people share a common purpose and work towards this in a collaborative way.
Waterwise Otago is a collaborative partnership between Untouched WorldTM Foundation, UNESCO, Department of Conservation, Otago Polytechnic, Otago Community Trust, Contact Energy, Te Rūnunga o Ngāi Tahu and Otago Regional Council.
Read edition 1006 of the Wānaka Sun here.