Exploring the forest is a lot of fun for this group of kids from Paihia, but it’s the work they are doing to protect the local bird life that’s really exciting. Ngahere Toa was set up by Forest and Bird members, Stella and Brad at Bay Bush Action and most of the kids are already good buddies especially as many are cousins! These young nature lovers are now getting involved in a range of conservation activities, such as checking and setting traps every week after school, doing beach clean ups, and even helping with training dogs to avoid kiwis instead of harming them.
Not only are they out in nature and learning some awesome skills. They also learn about a new native tree and bird every week.
During summer, the kids monitor and bait a trap line. Everyone has a job – from writing down the trap numbers, to picking up the carcasses, and re-setting the traps.
Stella says “When we first started, they thought the dead animals were pretty gross. But now, they just pick up dead stoats and possums and rats no problem. They don’t have to worry about getting their hands dirty because in the forest, they’re free to be themselves and they soak it in. They’re well aware of the birds that should be living there and how we should be protecting them. Now they want to take action and save our forest.”
It’s also a great way to gain confidence in themselves, and confidence in the fact they know their own environment and what’s required to look after it.
Imagine if every child in New Zealand had a trapline in their own back yard – the road to a predator free New Zealand would be much shorter!