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Students hunt for moth plants in Howick

Published: 17 April 2019

Environmentally-friendly students have gone hunting in Howick as they try to eradicate an unwanted species, getting rid of as many moth plants as they can find.

More than half Howick’s secondary schools are hunting, with Botany Downs Secondary College leading the charge with seven teams. Last year, the college played an ace in the form of Amelali Vaka, above, who collected 1083 pods on his own.

Only moth plant pods and vines pulled by the roots count for the final tally for competing plant hunters. Home gardeners can swap moth and rhamnus plants for a native plant at the Bells Road entrance to Lloyd Elsmore Park on 4 May between 9am and 1pm.

"We adults could learn a lot from the students. They are leading the way in taking a stand for the environment, and that’s great news for the future of our area," says Howick Local Board member Adele White.

There’s $2000 in prize money up for grabs for the most successful moth plant hunters. Strict rules apply, including having to have permission to remove plants, health and safety conditions, and having to detail finds.

Pest Free Howick launched the competition at Pestival in March. Students must submit a photo of their haul with location details to the Society Totally Against Moth Plants, run by Howick College teacher Richard Henty.

The hunt runs until midnight on Saturday 4 May to coincide with the disposal bins at Lloyd Elsmore, and before prizegiving with board member John Spiller at Howick College on 23 May at 4pm.

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