More than 20 students from three schools gathered in Whangarei recently to gain hands-on knowledge of controlling pest rats and mice as the Enviroschools programme offered its first ‘Project Rodent’.
Regional councillor Paul Dimery says the Friday 17 March trial was run under the umbrella of the Enviroschools Programme, which is funded in Northland by the council.
The new rodent training comes after the success over the past several years of similar Northland-led Enviroschools programmes ‘Project Possum’ and ‘Project Mustelid’.
Councillor Dimery says the latest project targeted the two most common rats in New Zealand (Norway and ship) as well as the common house mouse; all three of which were inadvertently introduced by early European visitors.
He says participants – from Tauraroa Area School and Otamatea and Whangarei Girls High Schools – explored rodent pest control, biology and environmental impacts as well as participating in practical sessions.
A hands-on skills workshop, the trial included demonstrations and participants having a go at trap and bait station placement in a variety of habitats.
The course was held at Kiwi North in Whangarei and like its possum and mustelid forerunners, offered participants the chance to earn NCEA unit standard credits.
Tutukaka-based Cr Dimery (who represents the council’s Coastal Central constituency) says he’s pleased to see young people taking an interest – and actively participating – in pest control. He was also grateful to the various tutors and experts who had passed on their considerable pest control knowledge.
“Council invests a great deal of time and money on behalf of ratepayers working with Northland communities to control a large number of pests – animal and plant – in and around the region, both on land and water.”