Students compete for Conservation Week

Students from nine local schools competed in a Challenge Day at Tōtara Reserve yesterday to celebrate Conservation Week.

Conservation Week runs from November 1 to 8 and focuses on exploring and taking action for New Zealand’s natural heritage. It also aims to celebrate what is precious about the environment as well as raising awareness.

Horizons Regional Council ran the Challenge Day which was based around hands-on learning outside of the classroom. Environmental educator Helen Thomas says the day was packed full of fun yet challenging activities that involved strategic thinking in an amazing race style event.

“In teams of two students had to complete as many environmental challenges as they could in an hour and a half. Stations included activities such as a bird count, vegetation plot survey and identifying native plants and we were very impressed with the level of knowledge demonstrated,” she says.

“It’s heartening to know students already have an awareness of sustainability and we hope to build on that with more opportunities for students to get out of the classroom and put their theory into practice.”

28 students took part in teams of two with the winning team from Kimbolton School taking away library books, family passes to Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre, $100 for an environmental project and Lido Aquatic Centre passes.

Aleesha Hames-Baker from Kimbolton School was one of two students to stand up at the end of the day to thank staff who ran the event for “hosting us at Totara Reserve and we hope there will be more Challenges like this”.

“A big congratulations goes to the winning team and thank you to our sponsors who made the prizes possible. We also wanted to make sure all teams took something away from the event so gave a tōtara seedling to each team to plant at school,” says Mrs Thomas.

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