TREEmendous Education Programme is a collaborative and evolving model, so let your imagination run wild – no idea is too crazy!
Here are some thought starters to get you and your students thinking about what you could do at your school. These are achievable examples that are already being explored in Aotearoa.
Restoration of your nearby patch of forest, wetland, park or wildland
For example, Coromandel Area School’s Fight to save Whitebait…
After local elders explained that inanga, the smallest species of whitebait, used to travel up the spring from the estuary, the school was determined to revitalise the spring to help save the species which is at risk and in serious decline.
Inanga is the only species of whitebait that can’t climb barriers, which means that creating an environment they can survive in is difficult. The ‘natural corridor’ of plants alongside the spring will help purify the water and protect inanga eggs by acting as an umbrella during the day and a blanket at night.
Student’s carried out extensive research to save New Zealand’s declining whitebait population. Their studies showed this could be done through vegetation restoration. As a result they carried out massive planting of natives and wetland plants alongside the spring that runs through the school’s grounds.
Make your school Predator Free
Create a programme of work that figures out how you can go about doing this. Research and monitor your local exotic predators. Students could develop traps for these predators, working out systems and baits that might show great efficacy.
Monitor and observe how the biodiversity responds to the reduction of predators in the area.
Create habitats for local pollinators
How can your school encourage the most common pollinator species in your school grounds to visit? This could require new planting and observation of things like, how do they operate, what are their “landing rates” on certain flowers; what time of day and in which weather conditions do they visit.
How many species live on your school grounds? Can we find new species, unknown to Science? How do we record as many life forms that share our school grounds with us?
You can take that a step further, a Primary School in Christchurch is aiming to translocate an undescribed (discovered but not yet formally described and named) species of New Zealand native butterfly back into the city.
The project will take several years, from building the right habitat to liaising with local iwi and studying the butterfly’s ecology, its relationships with other butterflies and, ultimately, naming the insect.
There are many other practical applications for students and teachers alike, covering a wide range of the curriculum: science, social studies, art, literacy, numeracy and Ruud’s favourite: biomimicry!