For the first pest free story of the new year, we meet another winner of the Mayoral Conservation Awards – the CatchIT Schools Project. The recipient of the School Award, CatchIT was created through a collaboration between the University of Auckland and The Forest Bridge.
CatchIT aims to support local schools and children in becoming environmental decision makers of the future, building on The Forest Bridge Trust’s vision to create a forest bridge in which native wildlife can flourish between Kaipara Harbor and the Pacific Coast through educating local communities.
CatchIT helps students in setting up their own traps and monitoring devices at home, encouraging them to experiment, strategise and make data-informed decisions to improve their trapping.
The programme is linked to a classroom learning module and brings STEM subjects to life and educates the younger generation on the importance and delivery of kaitiakitangta.
On top of that, CatchIT invited parents to attend afterschool workshops to learn about trapping so they can help the kids out. Since January 2017, the programme has been delivered to eight schools – Wellsford, Wainui, Tapora, Living Way, Kaipara Flats, Horizon, Warkworth and Snells Beach – engaging over 588 students and their families, and distributed 2500 traps to families.
Outside of schools, there are 22 in-depth pest control workshops provided for the wider community, which has led to 772 traps being deployed – and the community is only growing as word spreads.
The Chair of the Trust, Kevin Adshead, is excited by how the project is going so far.
“The programme is increasing awareness of Aotearoa New Zealand’s pest issues and understanding of mitigation methods and so increasing protection of native flora and fauna.
“It’s great seeing the students learning and understanding what a difference they can make. Every pest trapped could save a kiwi.”
Find out more about CatchIT Schools here.
You can also get involved with Pest Free Auckland 2050 a community-led conservation programme facilitated by Auckland Council or find a conservation group near you at Nature Space.