SIRCET creates opportunities to engage young audiences with conservation and connection to nature, with hopes of growing our education initiatives on Stewart Island for local tamariki and visiting kids alike.
Halfmoon Bay School- Te Kura O Rakiura
The local school embraces a curriculum which takes them outdoors and into the community and environment with the kaupapa of Enviroschools, and SIRCET supports this by helping facilitate predator control and native species monitoring. The tamariki also work on several other environmental initiatives independently, and all their hardwork towards conservation has granted them recognition in numerous national awards!
Rat Trapping with Tamariki
Every Friday two of the school kids don their gumboots and high-vis vests to check their very own rat trapping line with SIRCET, which has been productive at catching hundreds of rats since 2018. In 2021 we re-set the system so that everyone in the school had their own rat trap, within a tunnel they’d built and decorated, which made for a trapline of 36 traps that stretched around the school grounds, onto the pathways around the school, and up the Fuschia Walk DOC walking track. It’s an important trap line being based within the township and at the edge of SIRCET’s project area, acting as a buffer. At the end of the school year we presented the first of the rat trapping awards to go some ways to recognising the contributions by the tamariki to our work.
Kororā/ Little Blue Penguin Monitoring
Since 2020, Halfmoon Bay School, SIRCET and NZ Penguin Initiative have come together to conduct Tier 3 passive monitoring of the local kororā population; practical citizen science which brings the kids out of class to check and set trail cameras before returning to the computers to analyse footage of this native species. This monitoring helps fill a gap in the knowledge about how healthy the penguin population on the island is, and has been met with enthusiasm and outstanding engagement from the school! There is potential to build on this project to undertake Tier 2 or Tier 1 monitoring by first establishing a nest box colony to monitor more closely- we are fundraising to pursue this at present.