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Kid’s eco-camps continue wholesome tradition

by 8 Jan 2008Sedimentation0 comments

Ira Seitzer and two Waicare students

Outdoors Eco-School: Auckland Regional Council’s Ira Seitzer with year 12 biology class students beside the Mahurangi River. photographer Theona Turner

The two ‘eco-camps’ planned this month for 8–13-year-olds as part of the Mahurangi Action Plan activities continue a worthy tradition of summer camps in the harbour.

The Schoolhouse Bay property, which Rex Fairburn found for Mahurangi Action founder John Male, had been used as a summer camp, for orphans.

Then, in the early 1970s, Mahurangi College teacher Martin Oakwood began an era of harbourside camps for his intermediate classes, on a Pukapuka Inlet property.

Martin’s strategy was to get students, early in the first term, out of the classroom and into an environment where those whose aptitude was other than academic had an opportunity to shine. The team building and group participation that permeated every aspect of these camps, set the scene for a thoroughly inclusive school year.

At the end of the last term, a second camp was held, nicely book-ending the year—a year not too suffocatingly booky, particularly for the students, typically male, with the more ‘spatial’ attributes.

The camps became legendary and readily attracted sufficient parents and other adults to meet the relatively undemanding child–adult ratios of the day.

It might have been altogether more onerous, in that regard, had today’s much more stringent child–adult ratios applied—this January’s camps of a maximum of 12 students will be in the care of five adults:

  1. Rachel Griffiths, Rodney District Council
  2. Stacey Lockie, Auckland Regional Council
  3. Bruce Martin, Department of Conservation
  4. Ira Seitzer, Waicare – Mahurangi Action Plan (Auckland Regional Council)
  5. Dave Wilson, Department of Conservation

The participants, who must be 8–13 years of age will learn:

  • basic camp skills (including tenting, health & safety, cooking, bush skills)
  • identification of native trees, plants, pests, biodiversity (freshwater, terrestrial)
  • basic freshwater ecology and land management
  • fish identification; and will be involved in
  • team building and group participation.
Camp dates–times
Camp 1
Thursday 17 January 2‍ ‍pm – Friday 18 January, midday
Camp 2
Tuesday 22 January 2‍ ‍pm – Wednesday 23 January, midday
Rain check dates
Camp 1
Thursday 24 January
Camp 2
Wednesday 31 January
Cost and requirements

Kids will need:

  • own pup/hiking tent
  • overnight camping gear
  • good torch for spotlighting
  • full permission from parents/caregiver (forms provided)
  • $10pp to cover food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks)