A busy life in Tauranga

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Amanda Besley TfS coordinator Envirohub Tauranga, reports on the variety of roles she plays spreading the TfS message in the area:

All hands!
Recently at Maungatapu Primary School, sponsored by Tauranga Rotary, many busy hands had dozens of coprosma seedlings in pots in no time.  Teacher-in-charge Diana Price is a hands-on environmentalist adding to the TfS programme on a regular basis.  The children in her class all keenly participated with a variety of tasks including weeding and stocktaking. A group of enthusiastic volunteers drifted in from the playground at lunchtime and the small but determined kahikatea also received new pots to stretch their roots.


A very satisfied sponsor
On meeting the Envirogroup at Tauranga Girls College, Natalie Hilterman, PR officer from sponsor Taura Natural Ingredients, was very impressed by what she found.  The size of the operation and quality of the plants came as some surprise.  Natalie spoke with the star group of students, working under the guidance of the very committed teacher-in-charge, Roberta Gover, and gained a positive insight into how productive and valuable their company sponsorship is. The girls are keen to promote environmental initiatives both within the school and out in the local surroundings.


Building for the future
It was an enormous pleasure to work with 40 trainee teachers at Bethlehem Tertiary Institute last month.  Within their teacher training course there is a comprehensive unit focusing on sustainable education and for that reason I was invited to share a few of my ideas on connecting children to their natural environment.

BTI is conveniently close to Bethlehem College, one of the Bays’ most productive TfS schools.  Being physically onsite and able to inspect the set up for themselves was a golden opportunity; so, after a bit of spider watching and cockroach catching we spent time at the very lush looking Bethlehem PGU. I look forward to TfS receiving applications from these future teachers.

Potential TfS teachers inspected Bethlehem College PGU.

Students use ID books to identify their native trees


Garden Bird Survey
This is a citizen science project established to monitor the population trends of common garden birds in New Zealand. It attempts to answer the question, “Are garden bird populations increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable?”

New Zealand has a number of rare native bird species that are declining in number, but we do not know the population trends of our more common native or introduced birds. The annual garden bird survey should act as an early-warning system if currently common native species like fantail, tui, bellbird, silvereye, grey warbler and kereru start declining.

Successive plantings by TfS at the Carmichael Reserve has helped Tauranga City Council turn a barren swamp area into a shrub-filled nature zone which is very much part of an urban area with intensive housing and roading adjacent. Student Samantha assisted with an hour of monitoring the birdlife in the area planted last year by Tauranga Girls, Aquinas College and Bethlehem College and we recorded small numbers of several species like fantail, skylark, goldfinch; all native species which contrasts hugely with the typical exotic count in an urban garden.

For information on this national survey: gardenbirdsurvey.landcareresearch.co.nz

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