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Students get hands on with water

Friday, 11 December 2015 10:00 a.m.

Water and how it’s managed became the subject for more than 100 Bay of Plenty students this week, with a hands-on focus to learning ensuring nearly everyone had the opportunity to cool off in the hot summer sun.

The primary and intermediate students from ten schools attended the Hands On Water Expo near Paengaroa, which was organised by Bay of Plenty Regional Council in collaboration with staff from the Department of Conservation, Tauranga City Council, Rotorua Lakes Council, and Western Bay of Plenty District Council. The Enviroschools Programme has also provided funding support through their Regional Capacity Building Fund to make this event possible.

The students participated in a range of activities at Redwood Valley Farm near Paengaroa 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 expo was the third Hands On Water Expo the Regional Council has organised. Numbers are 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 to look after waterways that they can then use in the community.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Community Engagement Advisor Stephanie Macdonald said it was a terrific opportunity to get the students to apply their learning in a real world context and see first-hand the impact they can have in helping protect the region’s waterways.

“We hope they’re able to take away some of the ideas they’ve learned and use them at home and with their schools to improve water quality throughout the region,” she said.

“This event wouldn’t be possible without the great support we receive from the other councils and Department of Conservation who host activities across a broad range of freshwater issues.”Mrs Macdonald said it was also an opportunity for teachers to gain new knowledge about water quality which they could then take back to their schools.

 Participating schools are eager to share what they’ve learnt with their schools and wider communities. Some plans including riparian planting, rain water collection to water vegetable gardens and even an eel identification workshop to help protect Long Fin Eels.

Members of the Freshwater Futures Community groups for the Kaituna- Maketū, Pongakawa- Waitahanui and Rangitāiki Water Management Areas were invited to visit. These groups are providing their views to help council to set limits and rules around freshwater.

Additional notes

Participating Schools

  • Eastern Bay: St Josephs (Whakatāne), Omaramutu , Woodlands
  • Rotorua: St Mary's (Rotorua),  Malfroy
  • Western Bay: Gate Pa, Greenpark, Te Ranga, Ōmanu, Pongakawa

Click on images below for high resolution versions

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water expo 2015 water expo 2015 - rotorua

water expo 2015 - western bay

Water expo 2015 group photo