Respect for river flows down to kids
'The ducks will get sick'MATT RILKOFF
Samantha Ward knows a thing or two about the Waitara River.
"If you dump rubbish in the water it will make the water all rubbishy," the 7-year-old said.
"And the ducks will eat the rubbish and the ducks will get sick."
She shares such useful knowledge with the 260 other pupils at Waitara East School. They have spent the last few weeks learning and creating art influenced by the river that runs through their town.
The Te Awa/River Art Exhibition that resulted is open for viewing at the school hall from 9am to 7pm today.
"I think every child needs a place to call home, a place they can stand. If they know something about where they come from they will be proud," Maori resource teacher Tiri Bailey said.
"That pride includes finding out the Waitara River is one of the few Taranaki waterways in which piharau, or lamprey, can be caught.
"Or that riparian planting is helping improve the water quality of the river, or even that someone's mum used to threaten to throw them in it if they didn't behave."
Whaea Tiri said the river meant so many different things to the community and it was the community that decided the school should put an emphasis on students learning about their environment.
"For many years I don't think we have paid tribute to the fact we have an exciting environment right here, right where we live," she said.
Next year the school will turn its attention to the sea.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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