Far North children got wet feet searching for local creatures lurking in the depths of Lake Waiparera, during a recent fieldtrip.
Hunting for native fish and bugs was part of an action packed day for Waiharara School. Hosted by the Department of Conservation and the Far North Environment Centre, students took part in an educational freshwater investigation, named the Whitebait Connection (WBC) programme.
DOC ranger Kylie showing children what
creatures are found in Lake Waiparera
DOC community relations ranger, Kylie McDowell says the Wet Feet programme is a great way of getting children passionate about their freshwater wetlands, dune lakes, rivers and streams.
“Seeing the delight in the faces of the students when they are exploring this freshwater area is fantastic. They search the lake for amazing little creatures and discover native plants, which live in and around the lake. Their eyes light up when they realise they can do little things to help care for this unique place. It is a great project to be involved with,” says Kylie.
The WBC programme is a free resource available to all schools around New Zealand, providing freshwater learning outcomes. Through the programme children discover that wetlands are a living resource, full of interactive learning opportunities, right on their doorstep.
Inanga, part of the whitebait family
The Far North Environment Centre’s, WBC Co-ordinator, Soozee McIntyre says the main goal of the programme is to involve local schools and communities in the care and restoration of their freshwater environment.
“Judging by a conversation overheard on the day, one student claimed this to be “The best day ever! I love netting and catching bullies!” while another student added “No, camp is the best day, this is the second best day ever!” proving the WBC fieldtrip was a huge success”, says Soozee.