Swimming, skuttling, swooping - exploring our forgotten fauna

Native reptiles were one of the main attractions for 60 year 5 to 8 students who attended Horizons Regional Council’s Enviroschools Hui at Mt Lees Reserve on Wednesday 21 October.

Student enviro-leaders from 10 Enviroschools in Manawatū and Rangitīkei had the opportunity to learn about some of our forgotten fauna, native geckos, bats and fish, and how to take action to preserve these animal groups.

Horizons environmental educator and Enviroschools regional coordinator, Sarah Williams says the excitement and interest from the students was exactly what Enviroschools wanted to achieve.

“By interacting with nature students develop more empathy and understanding of our delicate ecosystems.  This hui was a chance to expand their knowledge and ignite their enthusiasm, and looking around me today I’d say it was a great success,” says Mrs Williams.

“An event like this is also really important in supporting our young people to grow their leadership skills. These enviro-leaders are our next generation responsible for looking after our environment and they can’t look after something they don’t know about.

“Attendees learnt from experts from Wildbase Recovery, Wildlife Foxton Trust and Horizons’ biodiversity officers.”

“This has been an awesome day. It has been an opportunity for our students to learn about our environment and sustainability,” says Courtney McKay, Year 6 teacher, Newbury School.

Councillor Cath Ash from Rangitīkei District Council, who attended the hui, says she loves how Enviroschools is preparing younger generations to connect with our natural environment. The Enviroschools programme is funded in Manawatū and Rangitīkei by the respective district councils. It aims to empower young people to take action on environmental issues that are important to them.  

“Being able to organise a day to empower and bring these enviro-leaders together, then supporting them in sharing and implementing what they have learned is all part of the Enviroschools kaupapa,” says Ms Williams.

This was the first primary student hui run by Horizons Regional Council and Ms Williams is confident, based on its success, there will be more.

Horizons Regional Council facilitates the regional coordination of the Enviroschools programme - a national behaviour change programme aiming to create a generation of young people who think and act sustainably.

There are 75 Enviroschools across the Horizons Region, from early childhood education through to the primary and secondary sectors.

Enviroschools are highly engaged in a wide range of environmental actions and sustainability practices such as waste, biodiversity, transport and social justice.

More information on the Enviroschools programme can be found at: