By Helen Ough Dealy, Partnerships Ranger | Kaitiaki Manutaataki
The Opua Primary School students that came aboard the floating classroom on the Explore Group vessel
Last week 43 Opua Primary School students from years 6 – 8 went to sea on the Project Island Song floating classroom.
The trip was funded by Kids Restore New Zealand, through a grant received by Guardians of the Bay of Islands, the community group behind Project Island Song.
Project Island Song aims to bring back the birdsong to the pest-free islands of the eastern Bay of Islands.
DOC ranger Helen Ough Dealy talking to the students on the boat
The students did some activities on the boat before getting stuck into some hands-on conservation work
The floating classroom programme emphasised hands-on conservation, putting what they'd learnt into practise, and encouraging them to take these new skills and enthusiasm home with them.
Students learnt about biosecurity, how to make a blue penguin nesting box, rat trap box, tracking tunnel, stoat trap box. They played an active role in health and safety, biosecurity, construction, treeplanting and weeding.
Students putting their conservation knowledge and skills into practice, making nesting boxes and trapping boxes
The students got some great conservation work done, making nesting and trapping boxes that will help blue penguins and protect other native species from pests
During the day, the school travelled form Opua to Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island where they had lunch and got stuck into more activities. Stops at other pest-free islands on the way were made as well as dolphin-watching on the way home.
A great day to be out and about on a floating classroom!
The day was a great success and the kids had a wonderful time, all while learning new skills and getting inspired about conservation.
Three more fully funded floating classroom trips will be carried out throughout winter and spring. The Explore Group vessel that took the kids out will also be carrying other schools on subsidised trips to take part in Project Island Song floating classrooms.