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Hands on Water Expo

Hands on Water Expo- 2013

Bay of Plenty school kids are already using what they learned at the Hands-On Water Expo late last month, with a variety of projects underway to tackle water issues in their communities.

Planting riparian strips to protect waterways , conducting a school-wide water use survey, and collecting rainwater for use) are among the actions schools are taking to raise awareness of water use and the need to carefully manage this precious resource.

Other schools are working to spread the message further, presenting to their local Envirogroup and to classes across the school on the importance of looking after our water reserves. These actions are being carried out by schools from right across the region including Malfroy School in Rotorua, Ōhope Beach School, Ōmanu School in Mt Maunganui, Te Kura Kaupapa o Kutarere and St Joseph’s in Whakatāne).

Eddie Grogan, General Manager Environmental Management at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, said the two-day, hands-on expo showed the value of agencies working together to educate and inform their communities.

“Water is an important issue for everyone”, he said. “As well as reaching a great group of enthusiastic Years 4 -10 students, the Expo was an opportunity for people from different organisations to share their skills and knowledge. I think we learned as much as the students!”

How clean is your stream-Hands on Water Expo, Roydon Downs Farm 2013 04 21Bay of Plenty Regional Council held the Expo at the Roydon Downs Farm Park near Te Puke, where owners Gill and Geoff Brann were the winners of the first Ballance Farm Awards for their sustainable practices.

Other agencies that supported and took part in the day were Enviroschools Foundation, Tauranga City Council, Rotorua District Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, NZ Landcare Trust and the Department of Conservation.

More than 150 students from 16 schools across the region took part in activities that included water quality monitoring, catchment protection, and pollution prevention – along with examining the bugs in streams to assess the health of the water, and getting up close with live eels.

The Hands-On Water Expo was held on 21 and 22 March – an additional day was added because of high numbers wanting to attend. It coincided with World Water Day on 22 March.