This term the Wild about NZ students from Fairhaven Primary, Omokoroa Point, Omokoroa No.1 and Whakamarama Schools are learning what a “pest” is (& no I don’t mean your younger brother or sister!) Ok, well that’s one meaning of the word but what we mean as conservationists is: a destructive insect, animal or plant that threatens our native plants, animals, ecosystems and habitats.
The students have learnt why we have pest’s in our country, how they got here in the first place, what makes them a pest and what we can do about them (i.e control populations with toxins or traps).
Over the last two weeks the students have been putting out tracking tunnels and possum chew cards in their schools and neighborhood’s to do some ‘Small mammal monitoring’.
Inside the tracking tunnels they place a trakka card which is baited centrally with a small blob of peanut butter. The trakka card has an area of ink in the middle, the idea being the animal walks across the ink, eats the peanut butter and leaves behind their inky footprints and we can therefore identify who has visited. This type of monitoring helps to tells us what type of pests might be living in our backyards/neighbourhoods.
From there we can give feedback to local pest control groups. We look forward to collecting the trakka cards in the next fortnight to uncover our results.