island conservation kereru

New Zealand Schools and Government Partner to Protect Native Species

New Zealand schools team up with government to protect native plants and wildlife.

In New Zealand, locals know how damaging invasive species can be. Recognizing the importance of local biodiversity and the opportunity to support native species, schools are teaming up with the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Many of our endemic wildlife species are on the threatened species list. The biggest immediate threats come from introduced predators such as stoats, possums, rats, mice, feral cats and even hedgehogs.

island conservation science new zealand native gecko

Geckos can become easy prey for invasive predators. Credit: Department of Conservation

To prevent extinctions, local schools and government are working together to plant native vegetation in and around schools. Native birds, reptiles, and insects such as weta are expected to benefit from the work.

With the promise of abundant fruit, seeds and nectar birds such as kereru, kaka, bellbirds, tui and wax-eyes will come visiting and stay if they find safe haven in the freshly planted school grounds. They will also be able to move safely and in manageable distances along the green corridors from the forested areas above Nelson into the city.

island conservation new zealand bellbird

A New Zealand Bellbird. Credit: Richard Ashurst

Students are gaining hands-on experience in restoration:

This term the children will be creating bird nesting boxes, weta motels, lizard and gecko hideaways, forage for at-risk butterflies and bees, and shaded areas along wetland areas where fish can find cool habitats in the summer.

The projects are having a “halo effect” within the region, benefiting species even beyond the exact location of restoration:

The combined effort of pest control and planting native trees is enabling wildlife to spread their wings out across the city.

Featured photo: Kereru. Credit: Warren Smart

About Sara Kaiser

Sara received a BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. As a freelance writer and editor, she seeks to produce and highlight stories that support ecological responsibility, body awareness, emotional intelligence, and creative action, and reveal the connections between them.

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