Predator trapping course and much more!

A group of our students embodied the school value of Kaitiakitanga while learning all about trapping and protection of our native wildlife.

After students expressed an interest in trapping Westland High School staff organised a Gateway/Star course with experts in bush trapping in conjunction with Waikato University. The boys learned a lot more than just how to build, maintain and check their own traps from mice, rats and possums but how to target specific species and how to look after our local environment in the most humane way possible.

The students attended a 48 hour camp at Lake Kaniere where, with little sleep and a lot of hard work, some students managed to build several traps and pass numerous assessments. They worked into the early hours then getting up before dawn to prepare breakfast before tramping into the bush to check their traps.

The experience was positive and despite the heavy rain impacting their trapping success the boys weren’t put off. They decided to put their new skill set to good use and wrote to the West Coast Penguin Trust to see if they could help out with our local native seabirds. The Trust got back to us directly and the boys jumped on the chance to further use their skills to minimise the threats to our littlest penguin.

So for the last 2 weeks the boys have been regularly setting and checking traps at secret locations in the Hokitika area.

To give credit where it is due:

Thanks to the expert coaches from Papa Taiao Earthcare who did a great job in inspiring the boys to see trapping as more than just a financial benefit but an ecological one too.

Also thanks has to go to Annie Breeze who went on the camp to be camp mother and support as reader writer and Mike Waller who was prepared to go with this group as camp father to keep the boys on task and also for his great help in getting the boys to set, monitor and complete the trapping for the last assessment. Also to the boys from South Westland Area School for coming along and making the course a financially viable option for us all and to all the students who, rain or shine, have been doing what they can, not for profit but to look after their native wildlife. Outstanding example of our school value - Kaitiakitanga from our amazing Westland students.

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