A wetland on the grounds of Whangaparāoa College is being restored, a small section at a time, in a project expected to take several years.
The school has more than 3.5ha of wetland, including two stormwater ponds. Work on its restoration has been divided into three stages.
The area is full of invasive weeds, including gorse, and assistant head of Year 7, teacher Julia Jarvis, says the first step is removing those.
Local environmental groups – Restore Hibiscus & Bays and Whitebait Connection – are working with the Year 7 students on the project. Thanks to these groups, the students are learning a lot about invasive weeds and how to remove them, native plants, water quality, and why it is important to restore the wetland.
The school hopes that grant funding may enable it to employ contractors to help with weed removal. It has also applied for funding to buy tools and plants. So far it has received $3000 towards the work.
Julia says later in the year the students will begin to think about how the space could be used for further learning once it is cleared of weeds.
“This project is huge and will be run over a few years,” Julia says. “ My hope is that this year’s group will pass on their knowledge and skills to next year’s Year 7s and so on.”