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Aoraki Mt Cook School Become Caretakers

Media Release
Thursday 15 May 2008

Aoraki Mt Cook School Become Caretakers Of Bowen Bush

The students of Aoraki Mt Cook School became caretakers of Bowen Bush at an official ceremony yesterday attended by school pupils and representatives from the Department of Conservation and wider community.

Aoraki Mt Cook School has a roll of just 17 and is located at Mt Cook village – the gateway to Mt Cook National Park.

Bowen Bush is located adjacent to the village and contains Totara and celery pine, an abundance of native flora and fauna, as well as a marked trail, which loops from the lower village.

Principal Bu Windsor says the initiative provides a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn about the bio-diversity and ecology of the area.

“As principal, I am always looking for new ways of encouraging the children to interact with their surroundings and learn about their environment,” she says.

“The kids are very excited about this project and the responsibility that comes with it. In class, we are currently investigating what flora and fauna might be present in the area. Over the coming weeks we will be looking at eco-systems and investigating possible predator eradication measures,” she added.

Bu Windsor says the children are also looking at developing a booklet on Bowen Bush that will help develop their literary and artistic skills.

The school’s Bowen Bush project was assisted by a $2300 grant from the Meridian Waitaki Community Fund.

“The support we got from the Meridian Waitaki Community Fund has been invaluable. It has enabled us put together an implementation programme to determine the best way to preserve and improve the natural environment while creating tangible learning opportunities for the students at the same time.”

Meridian Waitaki Community Fund panel chair Mark France says supporting the Bowen Bush initiative was a natural fit for the community fund.

“The relationship between the school and the Department of Conservation is a fantastic initiative. In essence, the project achieves two things. It will ensure the natural environment is looked after and it will also provide a wonderful learning environment for children,” says Mark France.

The Aoraki Mt Cook School Bowen Bush project is a long-term relationship. In the next two terms the students will begin a regular maintenance and monitoring programme and develop written material.

The project will be reviewed at the end of the year.


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