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Students lead the way on environment

Published: 29 May 2019
  • Team Demons...Howick's champion moth plant hunters.
  • Students at at Sancta Maria get set to take up their shovels and spades to plant natives along the creek bank.

Botany College’s Team Demons are Howick Local Board’s champion moth plant hunters for 2019.

The team gathered an impressive 2265 moth plant pods and small vines to collect $650 in prize money and hold off The Cultured Moth Destroyers, also from Botany College, who registered 1878 pods.

A Pest Free Howick and local board Moth Plant Pod Competition prize-giving was held at Howick College with Auckland Council Environmental and Infrastructure Services director Barry Potter and Pest Free Auckland director Brett Butland handing out the prizes.

Pest Free Howick coordinator Lorelle Stranaghan says it was a great night with the student teams more interested in bragging rights than prizes, though some impressive moth plant returns were recorded.

Six schools took place, with 10 teams registered, accounting for almost 10,000 moth plant pods.

Because each pod has about 700 seeds, around 7 million seeds will not germinate in the area, a massive boost to the fight against the highly invasive plant.

Macleans College Moth-erland Protectors brought in 1588 pods, Team Edgewater College Enviro Club 1349 pods and small vines, and Team Howick College Enviro Group also broke the magic thousand, gathering 1028 pods.

Ms Stranaghan hopes the students will continue their environmental efforts. "We encourage all students to join the Pest Free Howick movement and hope these successful conservationists will spread our message."

And at Sancta Maria College students have planted thousands of trees as part of the Ōtara Creek Restoration Project.

Year 7 students planted 2000 trees, year 8 another 2000 and about 800 were planted by the community, including the chair of the school’s board.

Howick Local Board environment spokesman John Spiller says the students are providing leadership and are an example of young people taking a hands-on approach to caring for the environment. "They should be an inspiration for us all."

Ōtara creek borders the school, where three planting days were held, two for students and one with the community. "They were a hit and we have support from teachers who want to adopt the creek as part of a restoration project," Ms Stranaghan says.

Staff and students will manage a pest-trapping network being established around the stream and may also do other restoration roles.