Introduction

Two year 5 students from Queen Margaret College in Wellington have taken action to protect local skinks in an area set for a building development.

Two year 5 students from Queen Margaret College in Wellington have taken action to protect local skinks in an area set for a building development.

Molly Newton-Smith and Alexandra Hickford have produced a brochure about skinks which also highlights the school’s plans to relocate the lizards with help from Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

A year 5 class at Queen Margaret College has been participating in a Greater Wellington Take Action for Water education programme.  Part of the programme involved taking action to help the environment in their local area. The students knew about a population of skinks in a part of the school grounds where a new building is to be constructed, so they decided to help them by developing a new safer habitat.  

Skink protectors Molly Newton-Smith and Alexandra Hickford from Queen Margaret College.
Skink protectors Molly Newton-Smith and Alexandra Hickford from Queen Margaret College

All skinks and geckos are fully protected so the school had to apply for a permit from DOC to move the animals.

“This is a great example of a community taking action to protect local urban wildlife. What’s more Molly and Alexandra took it upon themselves to produce this excellent brochure that complements DOC’s lizard conservation publications,” said DOC spokesperson Matt Barnett. 

“As Kiwis, it is our responsibility to protect and treasure our native animals. Our skinks have been on earth a long time and they belong to New Zealand. We want to protect our skinks from extinction and keep it that way,” said Molly and Alexandra.
 
“We designed brochures to help encourage others to care for our native skinks.”

The skinks will be moved later in the year when the weather warms up and regional council staff will help the students catch and release them to new skink-friendly habitat in the school grounds. 

Molly and Alexandra’s brochure can be found on DOC’s Conservation Week website, along with other examples of student conservation projects: Queen Margaret College skinks survival project 

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