Pupils help house and feed zoo animals

MARY BAINES
Last updated 14:10 30/11/2012
Zoo programme
MARY BAINES
Bird house: From left, Leuaina Andrews, 8, Daniel Brooker, 9, Kawhena Vandewell, 9, and William Smith, 9, showing the bird house they made themselves.
Zoo programme 1
MARY BAINES
Bird feeder: From left, Aamir Osman-Alnou, 9, Beau Bedford, 9, and Erin Yasmine, 8, with the bird feeder they put together with recycled materials

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Wellington Zoo has been helping pupils create spaces for native animals to thrive at their schools - from weta hotels to lizard gardens, pollinator palaces to bird feeders.

Six schools were part of Wellington Zoo's Bush Builder programme. Newtown School was the last to have an "action day", during which its pupils constructed bird feeders and houses this morning.

The Wellington Zoo initiative, run since 2008, aims to connect urban pupils with their local flora and fauna and take action in their communities.

The zoo was working with schools to create spaces and landscaping, to encourage native animals to move in.

Newtown School pupil Beau Bedford, 9, made a bird feeder. He learnt a lot, had a lot of fun, and was planning to make some of them for his garden at home, he said.

Daniel Brooker, 9, said he was intending to put his bird house up a tree and was looking forward to watching the birds arrive at their new home.

As part of the "environmental literacy" programme, pupils went along to a launch at Wellington Zoo and were involved with biological surveying at their schools.

That involved telling the zoo what kind of plants they wanted to grow to attract native birds.

Wellington Zoo's bush builder educator Kim Tabrum said being able to help schools make a connection with nature was a real buzz.

"It's an enabler so these guys can really get involved and put forward positive action."

She said the schools used recycled materials to build the spaces - coke bottles and jar lids for bird feeders, and stones and corrugated iron for lizard gardens.

"It will be great to see the output from this final phase, and how the school community keeps its environmental actions going in the future," Ms Tabrum said.

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- The Wellingtonian

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