Northland College Whitebait Connection Programme, 2013
Northland College is also the proud owner of a operational dairy farm and forestry block, which has been proudly utilised in the schools education programmes, where students receive practical experience in on farm activities, leading to NCEA standards. The school also had a strong history of involvement in the Lake Omapere restoration, annually taking students there for planting and water quality related activities including use of the SHMAK kit. Teachers also expressed a desire to intergrate education for sustainability concepts into this on farm learning.
The Whitebait Connection in class presentations were held in science or social studies lesson times with year 9 & 10 students, followed by a trip onto the Northland College Farm, and operational dairy farm with some outstanding freshwater habitat - including that of Northland Mudfish!
Students investigated water quality, biodiversity and threats at the Mangamutu, Taikawhena and Tahone Streams with farm studies teacher Eric Alexander and WBC Coordinator Nicki Wakefield. The Royal Society of New Zealand's Primary Science Teacher Fellow, Eden Hakaraia also took part in field trips on the farm. Each stream had it's own characteristics that really showed the effects of the varying catchment land use types.
Mangamutu stream catches a mojority of the stormwater outflows from Kaikohe's streets, and accordingly plastic rubbish was a common sight along the stream.
Taikawhena Stream with golden coloured sediments comes from a source near Ngawha, and area of geothermal activity and mostly forestry and farm land use. Water was very clear, and occasionally smelt of sulfur. There were a large amount of Freshwater Crayfish/Koura found in this stream.
The Tahone travelled from a largely farm and residential catchment, and water clarity was much lower than the other two catchments, and water temperature higher, indicating a less forested catchment.
Selected year 12 students took part in a very special field trip to one of the fenced and largely undisturbed wetland to see a local endemic - the Northland Mudfish
The greatest highlight for WBC coordinator, Nicki Wakefield while working with Northland College was seeing students completely engaged with learning on field trips and participating in hands on learning opportunities. "Vocab such as catchment, biodiversity and stick caddis were completely new to these young adults at the beginning of the programme. But by the end students were describing their experience using these words, which can be a massive feat among teenagers".
For more information on Northland College's WBC programme email their WBC coordinator Nicki Wakefield on firstname.lastname@example.org