Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tree Planting on the Elm Park Reserve 19 June 2014

Our first attempt to plant trees on the Elm Park Reserve was cancelled due to poor weather and the 19th of June also turned out to be a drizzly day.  However, the Year 4 classes wrapped up warmly and helped Auckland City Council workers to plant 500 trees along the Pakuranga Stream.

Have a look at the photos that show the plants and the muddy conditions.

It was a very satisfying morning for us all.  Our thanks to Anna Baine for organising the tree planting.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Community Experts Help Us With Our Pest Animal Inquiry

Anna Baine works for the Auckland City Council. 

Ms Baine talking to us today
Yr 4 students asking questions...

Ms Baine works in our community to help people take care of their neighbourhoods in lots of ways:

  • helping people to plant native trees so that we encourage native birds
  • teaching people all about animals that have become pests since they were introduced into New Zealand
  • teaching people about ways we can work out what pest animals are in our neighbourhood
  • recommending ways to get rid of unwanted pest animals

Look at some of the awful animal pests that we now have in New Zealand...
Stoat (one of the animals in the mustelid family)


Many pests were introduced into New Zealand for their fur.  But once the animals were here and were released into the wild their numbers exploded and we had a terrible problem. 

We also learned that:
  •  we now have 70 million possums in New Zealand
  •  possums eat native trees and this affects our native birds
  •  possums also eat native birds' eggs and baby chicks
  • they can give tuberculosis (TB) to cattle on farms near the bush                          
Ms Baine told us how we can get rid of unwanted animal pests in New Zealand
  • by trapping with special plastic traps
  • by poisoning with 1080 poison
  • by hunting

Ms Baine showing a trap
Trap, poison trap, and monitoring tunnel called a tracker tunnel
 We read all about the pest animals:

  • feral cats
  • rats
  • hedgehogs
  • stoats
  • weasels
  • ferrets
  • possums


At the end of the talk some children helped Ms Baine set 5 tracker tunnels on the Reserve and on our back field.  Read the related blog post to see how pest animals are attracted to the tracker tunnels.

Ms Baine holding the ink pad that helps us know what pest animals we have in our area...

 We learned heaps today... Thank you Ms Baine.  We will tell you what we find next week!

Community Inquiry: Learning About Animal Pests in our Neighbourhood

Anna Baine came to talk to the students in 3 Yr 4 classes about animal pests. Animal pests are unwanted animals. There are hedgehogs, possums, feral cats, stoats ferrets, weasels, rats and mice. These are unwanted as they harm our native birds and trees. 

To help us find what pests are around Elm Park School we set up tracker tunnels in Elm Park and within the school. These tracker tunnels will let us identify the footprints of pests in our neighbourhood. The tunnel has an ink pad within it so we are able to identify the footprints when we check the tunnels every few days. 

To lure the pest into the tunnels we placed a leaf with peanut butter on top within the tunnel as bait to attract the pest.

Richelle holding one of the tracker tunnels
Anna Baine and students deciding where to put the tracker tunnels

Next week we will check on the tunnels and record what we  find.  Then we can decide on what action we need to take to control pest animals in our school and on the Elm Park Reserve.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Our Learnz Virtual Trip aboard RV Tangaroa: Argo Floats- Taking the Pulse of the Worlds' Oceans

We are really excited about being involved in the Argo Floats scientific programme!

What will we be doing?
Taking a nine day voyage with scientists to track the pulse of the ocean.  We will be adopting our own float and sending the data to the scientists.
RV Tangaroa- photo from Learnz
What are Argo Floats? Argo Floats are mechanical robots that float in the oceans and send important information to satellites orbiting the Earth. There will be scientists from NIWA, NOAA and CSIRO on board the RV Tangaroa. The scientists will be dropping two types of floats: regular floats that can descend to 2,000m and a new Deep Argot Float that can get down to 5,500m below the surface. 

To get a great idea of how argot floats work see the following animated video: How Argot Floats Work:

Where we will be going?
We will be going to the Kermadec Islands because they are near a very deep part of the ocean called the Kermadec Trench. The new Deep Argot robots will be able to descend to 5,500m- an amazing feat.

The Kermadec Islands where we are going- photo from Learnz