Marine visit an 'awesome' experience

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 28/05/2013
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ROBERT CHARLES
Zed Stewart-Cranson, 9, and Tom Butler, 12 have recently returned from a snorkeling trip at the Poor Knights Islands.

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For two boys from North Taranaki, the reward for doing their homework was a snorkelling trip to the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve in Northland.

Zed Stewart-Cranson, 9, from Mimi School and Tom Butler, 12, from Manukorihi School won the chance to go on the snorkelling trip because of the work they produced as part of the Experience Marine Reserves programme.

Twenty nine students representing 15 schools across the North Island snorkeled the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve last week.

Mimi School principal John Elliott said he wanted his students to learn about marine reserves first-hand.

"The school has a strong focus on sustainability.

"I think all kids should grow up with those values, it's important to promote our marine reserves to everybody."

Zed, the son of dairy farmers, won the snorkelling trip competition with a project he did about riparian planting, trapping farm fertilisers so it doesn't kill fish when it washes out to sea.

Tom said the best part about snorkelling was getting up close to all the different species of fish, including big snapper.

He said the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve was an awesome experience.

"We snorkeled through the arch and a huge school of blue maumau were coming up close biting at us.

"Then they were trying to untangle the anchor but a moray eel was guarding it."

His winning work was on the pros and cons of marine reserves.

He said the pros outweighed the cons, except: "If you're a keen fisherman you can see them but you can't take them."

The two boys were sold on snorkelling.

"It's way better than swimming. It's awesome as," Tom said.

The Experience Marine Reserves competition intends to give students incentive to produce work and encourage marine conservation in their community.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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