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Students get hands-on at water expo

Thursday, 27 March 2014 9:00 a.m.

Students from around the Bay of Plenty have been learning about water quality and how they can contribute to protecting the region’s waterways.

About 200 primary and intermediate students and about 20 teachers attended the Hands On Water Expo organised by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, in collaboration with staff from the Department of Conservation, Tauranga City Council, Rotorua District Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Enviroschools.

Students participated in a range of activities at Roydon Downs Farm Park near Paengaroa, last week, learning about water quality monitoring, catchment protection and pollution prevention, examining bugs in streams to assess the health of the water, checking out eels and conducting experiments.

This month’s expo was the second Hands On Water Expo the Regional Council has organised. It was held over two days with numbers limited to prevent damage to stream banks and to help manage transport to and from the farm.

Staff from participating organisations ran different activities, teaching the students practical skills they could use in the community.

“The children were fantastic – very engaged and enthusiastic,” Regional Council Community Engagement Advisor Stephanie Macdonald said.

“The feedback we’ve had has been very positive and with water quality and water management being a priority for the region, we hope the children and their teachers will now pass on what they learned and put some of it into practice,” she said.

“It was also great to have the involvement of the other councils and Department of Conservation to ensure we had as many activities as possible.”

Teachers who participated said they and their students gained “lots of ideas and inspiration” from the expo and appreciated the opportunity to connect with a range of educators, providers and scientists from around the region.

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Kids stand on bank