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Children of the Mahurangi Stream Rescue Team

by 1 Aug 2007Sedimentation0 comments

Richard Bromley
Gillian Irons
Ira Seitzer
Georgia Monks, left, monitoring shellfish.

Presentation Team Member: Georgia Monks, left, monitoring shellfish. photographer Ira Seitzer

A group of about forty 9–13-year-old primary school children from the Warkworth Home School group and Warkworth Primary School have been involved for the past three years with the Auckland Regional Council’s Mahurangi Action Plan under the guidance of Waicare facilitator Ira Seitzer.

During that time they have been involved weekly in environmental education on the quality of streams feeding into the Mahurangi Harbour, learning about stream flora and fauna, diversity, water quality and testing techniques.

The main part of the program has been their active participation in establishing native plantings in the riparian margins of targeted streams to help slow down the sedimentation of the harbour. Over the last three years the children have spent hundreds of hours planting thousands of trees within the Mahurangi catchment.

Following a highly successful student presentation of their findings to the Auckland Regional Council environmental management committee on 5 December 2006, the group has been offered an opportunity to present to a major conference in Christchurch.

Our presentation group, comprised of six students, aged 10–13 years, all from the Warkworth–Mahurangi area, are seeking sponsorship or donations to enable our group to participate and deliver a formal presentation at the ninth South East Asian Surveyors Congress to be held in Christchurch between 30 October and 2 November.

This is the largest conference of its type ever held in New Zealand and comprises the 119th New Zealand Institute of Surveyors Annual Conference, the 6th Trans Tasman Surveyors Conference, the 11th General Assembly of the Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Economy, and Commissions 4 and 5 of the International Federation of Surveyors. Speakers and delegates will be a cross section of professionals leading and delivering the future development and maintenance of New Zealand’s built environment.

The main theme of the congress is ‘developing sustainable societies’, and congress organisers have indicated that, on the basis of their submitted abstract, the presentation by the ‘Children of the Mahurangi’ is exactly the sort of message they want to set the scene for the congress.

We have already undertaken the full process required to present at the congress.

This has involved submitting an abstract, obtaining endorsement and letter of reference (from Auckland Regional Council Councillor Dianne Glenn), seeking and obtaining approval and support from Warkworth Primary School board of trustees and principals, informing all students and parents involved about the event by way of a formal meeting.

We feel strongly as a group that the learnings, actions and vision we have for, in, and about the Mahurangi are positive examples and represent and support a leading-edge project (the Mahurangi Action Plan) that encompasses all aspects of sustainable community development.

The group’s intention at the conference, as future generation role models, is to create dynamic and positive exposure of the Mahurangi Action Plan project and to instil in our audience(s) a change in attitude, behaviour and action towards the environment.

We have also made contact with Environment Canterbury, and intend to connect with that organisation’s Environmental Education program, and possibly others, while we are there, to share project details and experience.

We are currently seeking contributions that will help us to achieve our goal.

We estimate the total costs to be $5218 all inclusive of flights, accommodation, meals, hire van, additional environmental education activities. These costs are for six students and three adults.

The children are in the process of sending out requests for sponsorship or donations to local businesses to fund this trip, in conjunction with requests for funding from Auckland Regional Council, Rodney District Council and other local groups.

If you, or your organisation is able to assist in some way towards this fantastic opportunity for the children please contact Gillian Irons, deputy principal of Warkworth Primary.

Prior to our visit to Christchurch we will also be delivering similar presentations locally, including:

  1. Rodney District Council’s strategy and policy committee on 6 September.
  2. Warkworth Primary School Science Expo on Tuesday 18 September targeting the wider community.

Additional environmental activities currently programmed include:

  1. Stream Rescue Team stream clean up at Pohuehue Reserve adjacent to the Pohuehue Viaduct on State Highway One on 9 August
  2. Planting of eco-sourced native seedlings—these are seedlings raised from seeds collected and grown by the children, and being returned to their original point source.

We have already started and will continue to seek any other opportunities to create exposure and awareness of these events, and to attract sponsorship, during the next few months.

The students, parents and staff are fully engaged and inspired about these remarkable opportunities.

We sincerely appreciate your consideration and support of the children’s activities and look forward to a positive response.