Youth inspired to look after local water ways
Friday, 14 August 2015 1:00 p.m.
Otumoetai College students have been planting native trees and shrubs in the Sherwood Gully this week in an effort to bring back native bird life beside the Matua Salt Marsh and Tauranga Harbour.
The students were inspired to take action after attending Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Taiohi-Taiao Youth Jam environmental youth conference in May this year. They were amongst 61 secondary students from nine Bay of Plenty schools that attended the event and explore what freshwater means to them.
“Otumoetai College students spoke about their desire to restore the Sherwood Gully next to their school at the Taiohi-Taiao Youth Jam and helped motivate other local secondary schools to take action to protect their local environments and waterways. We look forward to seeing similar projects underway soon at Tauranga Girls’ College and Pāpāmoa College,” said Janie Stevenson, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Youth Jam Coordinator.
Pāpāmoa College students have been testing water quality at three sites along the Kaituna River and helping Regional Council staff with riparian planting. The students’ next goal is to start planting alongside the storm water drains near their school, which lead into Wairakei Stream.
Tauranga Girls’ College students are also working on a restoration plan for part of the gully next to their school, near Fraser Cove. Students have already created a volunteer roster to plant and care for native trees this winter.
Miss Stevenson said that the aim of Youth Jam is to foster environmental awareness, youth leadership and participation.
“This year the theme was ‘Freshwater from Source to Sea’. We’re delighted that students have turned their experiences at Youth Jam into action in their local community,” she said.
During the two day Youth Jam students stayed at Aongatete Lodge in the Kaimai foothills. They used the Tauranga Harbour catchment as a case study to learn about freshwater management by investigating current trends in water quality and quantity, and going on field trips in the top, middle and bottom of the catchment. They also listened to a range of perspectives from people who live and work in the catchment.
Otumoetai College has received support from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Environmental Enhancement Fund to carry out their project.
Taiohi-Taiao Youth Jam is a free annual event delivered by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Next year’s event is already being planned to focus on geothermal resources. It will be held in Rotorua and open to all Bay of Plenty secondary schools. Visit www.boprc.govt.nz/youthjam for more information.
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Photo caption: Otumoetai College students with teacher Andrea Crawford helping replant the Sherwood Gully