Students get trapping masterclass

Tararua Enviroschools received an in-depth lesson in pest control at a trapping workshop at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre this week.

The day was hosted by Horizons Regional Council Enviroschools facilitator for the district, Georgina Morrison, with assistance from Pukaha trapping staff. Ms Morrison says the aim of the workshop was to highlight the important role trapping plays in keeping predator numbers down.
"Trapping is crucial for protecting our native flora and fauna, especially in a place like Pukaha which isn't fenced. Inviting students there provided a great opportunity to demonstrate the impact tracking can have," she says.
The workshop included a lesson on the different types of traps, tracking tunnels which help identify different types of pests, and a discussion on what types of pests are being caught. Ms Morrison says the students were encouraged to think about how they could assist with pest control at school or at home.
"By educating students we hope to give them the tools to undertake trapping themselves and raise their awareness of the technology that's available. These students are the future of conservation efforts for New Zealand, so we want to empower them.
"We also wanted to highlight that by working together so much more can be achieved. Pukaha is an excellent example of this with local businesses, iwi, district and regional councils working together collaboratively."
The day was attended by three schools from the Tararua Enviroschools network: Papatawa School, Kumeroa - Hopelands School, and Dannevirke High School. As Pukaha is on the Wairarapa border Kuranui School also attended.
Madison Lawson from Papatawa School says she was surprised by how many different traps there were.
"I would need some help to do trapping myself but it's really important to do it so there's less pests and so our native birds can survive,” she says.
Schools who are part of the Enviroschools programme are offered specialised workshops which aim to assist with creating sustainable communities. Horizons contracts facilitators in six of its seven districts to implement the national programme. Ms Morrison is also facilitator for Palmerston North and is undertaking another trapping workshop at Roslyn School.

Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre consists of 942 hectares of reserve, surrounded by 2,700 hectares of buffer zone. This buffer zone is trapped by Horizons and Greater Wellington Regional Councils. The reserve consists of over 100 kilometres of track network and 756 traps. Between July 2015 and July 2017 traps in the reserve and buffer zone caught 160 stoats, 2,676 rats, 275 cats, 84 ferrets and 663 hedgehogs.