Horizons to hold pest plant hui for Ohakune school students

Horizons Regional Council are hosting a pest plant hui for Ohakune schools on Thursday 30 November at the Ohakune Carrot Park to highlight the importance of controlling pests and showcase the role students can have in this mahi (work).

Horizons senior environmental educator Sarah Williams is 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.
“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,” she says.
“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.”
Horizons environmental programme coordinator for pest plants Michael Beech says biosecurity work is vital to controlling pest plants and protecting what we value most as communities within the region.
“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 that teachers will follow up their learning after the hui with support from Horizons.
“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!”