Horizons Regional Council are set to host a pest plant hui for Ohakune schools on Thursday to highlight the importance of controlling pests and showcase the role students can have in this mahi (work).
Council senior environmental educator, Sarah Williams said she was looking forward to bringing the hui to teachers and students in the Ruapehu district.
“We held this hui for other schools in Manawatū and Rangitīkei earlier this year, with great feedback from teachers, students, and parent helpers. We wanted to extend this opportunity to other areas of the region as well,” she said.
“Pest plants are not as exciting to students as pest animals so together with our Biosecurity pest plants team, we have come up with an amazing race-style challenge where schools complete a range of activities to be crowed the War on Weeds School Champion.
“Students and teachers can expect to learn about key pest plants in our region, especially those significant to the Ohakune area such as Old Man’s Beard, Wilding pine and Chilean rhubarb.”
Council environmental programme coordinator for pest plants, Michael Beech says biosecurity work was vital to controlling pest plants.
“Horizons biosecurity pest plant team are responsible for a comprehensive range of control methods for minimising the damage done by pest plants to our region’s ecosystem. Pests can be complex to manage, but we hope that days like this can teach these students the importance of our work and encourage them to be champions for pest control,” he says.
Mrs Williams says teachers will follow up their learning after the hui with support from the Council.
“We will continue to engage with teachers from attending schools to see how we can support them further in building on the knowledge they gain from the day.”
“We’ve seen this before in projects that schools set up, such as having students identify pest plants growing on school grounds and brainstorming ways to remove or control these plants.
“It’s really exciting to see students so engaged in this important work that we do, and we hope it fosters a passion for caring for our environment in the next generation – maybe we’ll even see some of their faces coming to work for us in a few years’ time!” she said.