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Children Lead Moutere Ecological Restoration Project

News Release
For Immediate Release
August 2011

Children Lead Moutere Ecological Restoration Project

Local children as young as five are to get the chance to take part in an ecological restoration project with an educational focus in the Moutere.

The project is part of a new programme being run by charitable trust Whenua Iti Outdoors that teaches children about the local environment, with ‘hands-on’ learning opportunities surrounding the restoration of the previously modified landscape. School groups will spend between 2 – 4 hours inside the extensive grounds at Whenua Iti, on the Moutere Highway near Motueka. The future aim will be to create camp sites nestled within native bush catering for up to 30 children per visit.

Whenua Iti Development and Communications Manager, Catharine Wood says Whenua Iti surveyed a number of local schools before going ahead with the concept to see what support there was.

“We were very pleased by the positive comments and we had 100% support from the schools surveyed. Mapua and Lower Moutere Schools will be helping launch the project with junior classes visiting in August and September.

The project is open to all schools in the Nelson/Tasman district as part of a Ministry of Education funded Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom (LEOTC) contract.

Catharine Wood says the primary goal of the project is to recreate representative habitats of the Moutere area while at the same time creating opportunities for young people to actively contribute to a local restoration project.

The inaugural group of students from Mapua and Lower Moutere Schools will participate in adventure based learning games with an emphasis on the natural world, followed by an exploration of the Whenua Iti grounds, learning about the species that currently inhabit the area as well as celebrating the planting of the first trees to launch the beginning of the restoration project.

“The students will get more than just an out of classroom learning experience, we hope it will also give them a sense of pride in their region and also an opportunity to engage in a meaningful way with their local environment. The practical nature of the programme means they get to see how they can individually and as a group transform the local environment for the better.”

Schools are able to choose whether they book a programme at the picturesque Whenua Iti grounds and become involved in the restoration project there, or they can book a programme in one of the three national parks on our doorstep.

This will be the 6th year that Whenua Iti Outdoors has been funded to provide a service to school students in Nelson and Tasman. There will be options for all ages including children as young as new entrants.

“Whenua Iti is all about “Journeys of Discovery” and while many people think of us as providing adventures and physical and mental challenges, we also have this other educational role which we value extremely highly and is also a journey of discovery about our past and our future generations,” says Catharine Wood.

Schools can also book a traditional Whenua Iti programme based around teamwork and leadership and combine this with activities that engage students in their local environment.

“The main objective is to provide programmes that cannot be easily replicated within the school environment, but that build on and extend the learning in the classroom,” says Catharine.

If your school or a class is interested in becoming engaged in this exciting local project, please contact Whenua Iti to discuss the options.

________________________________________

Photo Caption: Whenua Iti team staff Charlie Martin and Catharine Wood with plants ready for planting.

You are welcome to attend the first day of the new programme with Mapua School on August 11 and take photos but you will need to arrange this in advance with Catharine Wood.

ENDS

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