Oi on Raglan Area School agenda!

Oi have once again returned to the Whāingaroa coastline, and Oi parents are now busy looking after very cute and fluffy chicks! The very modern Oi parents share the care of their offspring – taking turns to feed their chick every week or two. However life in a burrow is a challenge when left alone for weeks at a time with predators like stoats, rats, feral cats, possums and dogs all a threat.

Oi are “ecosystem engineers” as they deposit nutrient rich guano from the ocean to land, and then excavate burrows aerating soil, which aids plant and root growth. New Zealand’s mainland was once inundated by seabirds but habitat loss, introduced predators and challenges at sea have all but removed the last remnant of seabirds from our coastlines.

With this in mind A Rocha has co-created the Maanaki Ao (Earthcare) programme to grow the next generation of Kaitiaki together with Raglan Area School and Papa Taiao. The NCEA level environmental education program for Year 11-13 takes students into outdoor living classroom to be introduced to a variety of local environmental issues/human impacts while exploring various solutions to these.

The programme is based on a student-led, inquiry-learning, curricula-integrated philosophy – an approach designed to enable students to grow in confidence, leadership and develop work-ready skills.

This year students set up and created their own network of trap lines, that required teamwork, project planning, fundraising, and practical implementation – track cutting, predator monitoring and trap setting.

“At the start of this year, I chose this subject just because it would let me get out of our everyday normal classes, however, within a couple of weeks I had already learnt that what I was gonna be doing wasn’t just gonna majorly boost my enthusiasm towards school but also do my part to achieve the goal of predator-free 2050. After a few terms of trapping my [mind] had totally changed from the start. It wasn’t any longer about having fun. It was about saving the environment so our future generations would get a taste of what it was like to live in our generation because if we don’t do something now, there may be nothing left of our natural beauty.” – Finn, Maanaki Ao student.

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