Plastic Free July arrived and a challenge was issued. Enviroleaders were challenged to roll up their sleeves, get into the kitchen and refine their baking skills! Create a tasty (yet easy) cracker recipe that can be made at home and reduce the need to buy crackers from the supermarket.
How grateful we are to Geoff and Carol Swailes, and the terrific team of trap makers who hosted some small groups of Enviro Leaders and shared their expertise and skills with us. They showed us what types of timber we would need to build the boxes for the DOC 150 traps we had bought with our grant money and then how to cut the timber to the correct lengths and sizes. Assembling the boxes was a bit challenging but incredibly rewarding. We were incredibly proud of what we were able to achieve with this support!
It was a lovely clear day as we headed up to the local QEII block to see if the traps that we had made, and those that we had purchased would work. Armed with our DOC150s, trapinators, some peanut butter, eggs and a whole lot of enthusiasm we set them in the bush, hoping for a great result when we returned. As we laid them out, we developed a whole lot more appreciation for those who do this on a much larger scale... those traps are a bit heavy and awkward to carry! It was a terrific afternoon out learning in the fresh air and we are very grateful for the opportunity!
The Enviro Leaders at NLS are very excited about a grant we have been awarded to establish a Community Trap Library at school. Our involvement in tracking animals in our school and on the QEII block has inspired us to take this learning to the next step.
We have a vision to establish a trap library where members of our school and wider community can borrow pest and predator traps to use on their properties. How awesome would it be for someone to use a tunnel to find out that it is a possum eating the fruit off their trees in the orchard paddock, and use the appropriate trap to catch it, borrowing it from our Community Trap Library. The Enviro Leaders plan to learn to safely use these, the best practise when placing them and baiting them, and help reduce predator numbers But further to that, help teach our friends and wider community to use the traps safely so they can take them and use them at their place. The large majority of students in our school are living on lifestyle blocks and this would be a really exciting way to get all students at North Loburn School and our wider community to get out and be involved in predator reduction.
Last week the Enviro Leaders were lucky enough to be asked to share with interested local farmers and businesses about what we have been learning about in regards to predator reduction, and our ideas about where this learning could take us. As winners of the Supreme Award at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, Duncan and Tina Mackintosh held a field day to share their story and we were fortunate to be given a spot to share. It was great to be able to share about why we are Enviro Leaders and not only the learning we've been doing, but where we hope to take it. Ideally we're keen to be involved in the trapping of predators in our community and are exploring ways to make this happen. We answered a few questions and feedback was positive.
We are really keen to get back into the classroom and investigate the tracks and chew marks that we have found. We're interested to know what animals are lurking in the bush, and what impact they are having. We enjoyed a quiet rest once we had finished laying the tunnels and could identify a few native bird calls. It's fabulous to be out learning about our unique environment and how we can work to protect it!
A team of happy waste auditors worked this week on analysing the waste that we make in one day here at North Loburn. Waste for the day was collected and sorted into like piles such as landfill, recycling and organic material. It was weighed, recorded and compared to previous year's results. We have results going back to 2010 and it's quite interesting to see how initiatives introduced have impacted our waste reduction. Toni Watts, our fabulous Enviro Schools Advisor, lead the team through this process. There was a lot to consider, compare and think about. They were pleased overall with the results, and have a few action points to follow up to refine and improve what we are doing!
Seeds, seeds and more seeds! A couple of NLS artists painted some upcycled old school desks to use in the Oxford, Kaiapoi and Rangiora library. They will be used for storing seed in a new seed exchange programme. Check out the desks and the article from the paper.
The Enviro Leaders made tracking tunnels to see what predators and other animals we have around the school. We also made chew cards to identify the pest bite marks. We spent some time discussing what a predator is, what they do that may be harmful to our environment, how we find out if there are any at NLS, and what we could do about it. There was lots of spirited discussion!