Pupils doing their bit for Town Belt ecosystem

Searching for insects at Woodhaugh Gardens are Town Belt Kaitiaki pupil leaders Glenn Ericsson ...
Searching for insects at Woodhaugh Gardens are Town Belt Kaitiaki pupil leaders Glenn Ericsson (14), of John McGlashan College, Jemma Bezuidenhout (18), of Otago Girls’ High School, and Ruby Chisholm (bottom, 12), of Balmacewen Intermediate School. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
With weeds, rubbish and pests plaguing the Dunedin Town Belt, a group of pupils are leading their peers in the charge to better appreciate and conserve our green spaces.

Town Belt Kaitiaki is an annual programme dedicated to teaching pupils from schools near Dunedin’s Town Belt.

Education co-ordinator Georgina Golling said the pupils would take the skills learnt at the monthly meetings and teach them to their classmates

The programme caters to 13 schools within walking distance of the Town Belt, ranging from early learning to secondary.

On Monday, the group celebrated the end of the year with a get-together at Woodhaugh Gardens, where members learnt about invertebrate sampling and finished the afternoon with a sausage sizzle.

The sampling included taking soil samples and "tree beating", which involved gently tapping the tree to cause bugs to fall.

Tracking the insect wildlife was important to tracking and mapping the ecosystem of the gardens, she said.

The gardens were suffering from an overabundance of litter, illegal dumping, uncontrollable weeds and pests.

By teaching the pupils how to appreciate and care for the area, the programme could help create a better future for Dunedin’s green spaces, she said.

Glenn Ericsson, of John McGlashan College, said the programme allowed him to meet new people and gave him the chance to do a lot of cool things.

He was part of the pest-trapping team and was proud to be able to play his part for the community.

 - wyatt.ryder@odt.co.nz

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