Students’ Challenge Day for Conservation Week

Students from twelve local schools will be competing in Horizons Regional Council’s Challenge Day at Totara Reserve on Thursday 15 September to celebrate Conservation Week. 

The theme of this year’s Conservation Week is Healthy Nature Healthy People and runs from September 10 to 18. Encouraging the next generation to learn about their local natural environment and how they can contribute to its sustainability is the focus for the Challenge Day.

As the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council, Horizons manage the Region’s natural resources.  Environmental educator Helen Thomas says the morning will be based around hands-on learning activities associated with the Council’s work in an outside of the classroom amazing race style event.

“In teams of two, students will need to complete as many environmental challenges as they can in an hour and a half,” says Mrs Thomas.

“Horizons-staffed stations will include activities such as identifying native and introduced fish, freshwater invertebrates and plants, and labelling  predator tracks, as well as completing a ‘Are you a Surviva?’ game to help prepare children for an emergency event.

“Thanks to sponsors such as Pukaha Mt Bruce we have some great and relevant prizes. Each team will also be awarded a native seedling to plant at their school to continue the theme of sustainability long into the future. 

“We ran a similar Challenge Day last year, and found it rewarding to see many students already have an awareness of sustainability.

“It’s fantastic that many of these schools have returned, with new schools from the wider Region joining us for this year’s event.”

Totara Reserve is a Regional Park nestled in the Pohangina Valley, and home to a number of native bird, plant and tree species. With swimming spots, powered and non powered camping sites and toilet facilities, the Reserve is one of the most accessible examples of lowland forest that once covered most of the Horizons Region.

Conservation Week is organised by the Department of Conservation and is supported by a number of organisations such as Horizons.