Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Pictorial Look at the Eco Warriors Group Since 2008

Our group has grown in size since we first began in 2008.

It's fun to look back at a few photos - one from each year since we started...
Stream monitoring started by
Eco Warriors in 2008

Room 13 assisted Eco Warriors
 on a big clean-up 
in 2009

A small but committed group

Another successful litter pick up in 2012

This year we have 23 children who help one lunchtime per week.
20 Year 4 students, 1 Year 5 student and  2 Year 6 students.
We are very proud of all our past and present Eco Warriors.

Other EPS Teachers Get Involved in Learning About Macro-invertebrates at Our Stream

Our thanks to Miss Hughes and Matua Faenza for sharing their findings at the stream.  They will be passed to Julia at WaiCare so they can be posted online on the WaiCare website.  We have had difficulties posting data in the past and Julia has assisted us a lot.

Miss Hughes and Matua Faenza are doing an online postgrad Science qualification and we are excited that they may be able to help us monitor the stream more effectively and get regular samples.  We don't have time to manage the rubbish and take the samples within half an hour.  So, classes can share the task in school time.


George - Yr 4
I have been really excited since I helped find a shrimp last week at our stream.

I tried to get a good picture off the internet.  I found the best photo on the Landcare website.  I emailed them but I haven't heard back yet.  I want to use their great picture and say where I got it from.  I will keep looking on my emails.

Yay, I am very excited because I got a reply from Landcare and they said I could use 3 of their photos. Thank you Landcare!!

Why I am an Eco Warrior

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Big Can Count...

The day after the water quality testing we went back to the stream to pick up the last of the cans and debris under the Big Tree and collect litter along the stream that we noticed the day before.  Cyclone Lusi was predicted to hit Auckland in the weekend and we wanted to make sure the rubbish didn't get carried into the stream if it flooded.

It wasn't the nicest job.

The children who didn't have closed in shoes tackled the rubbish along the stream bank. People with safe shoes finished collecting the yucky litter under the tree. We took all the rubbish back to school to sort it carefully and recycle the cans. We left the landfill rubbish to be collected by the Auckland City Council.  We found a dirty nappy and lots of plastic bottles, cardboard, newspaper and broken glass as well as cans.
Off again... to finish the litter collecting

A puzzling find...

Working further up the stream towards Pakuranga Highway
Litter in the stream...

Our sturdy buckets are better than the rubbish sacks, and safer...

The Stream bank crew
Buckets overflowing... and still to sort back at school
The Tree group

All rubbish removed...

The City Council will collect the sacks of landfill rubbish from the turning circle hopefully before the storm!
The cans became a maths investigation (The problem) and were then recycled in our school can bin.

Hopefully, the tree problem will be sorted by the Council.
EPS Eco-Warriors

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Water monitoring with WaiCare Wednesday 12 March 2014

In Week 7 Term 1 2014 the Eco-Warriors worked with Julia Tuineau to check the quality of water in the stream next to our school.

First, we talked about landforms and thought about how water runs off the land and collects in valleys in the landscape. Water then flows into other waterways and eventually ends up in a river which flows to estuaries and the sea.

Our Pakuranga Stream flows into the Tamaki River (awa) and then into the Waitemata Harbour.

We learnt how to use a tube to collect stream water, and test the clarity of the water.  Next we took the air temperature and temperature of the water.  Then we used nets to catch as many invertebrates as we could.  We used a plastic box with compartments to put specimens in.  We had an identification card underneath the box so we had to think about where to put the creature that we caught.  Each invertebrate on the card has a coloured line around it. 

Green borders = clean, high quality water
Yellow borders = medium quality water
Red borders = poor water quality. 

Sadly, our specimens were more in the red zone...snails, water boatmen...

Julia made us think about rain water and where water goes when it falls on the land

We learned how to use the plastic tube to measure water clarity.  Water should be clean and free of pollution, and not hot or else invertebrates cannot survive in it.
The specimen box is really useful... we had to transfer the animals really carefully so we didn't kill them

Filling up the tube

"Can you still see the sinker?"

Working as a team

Transferring water to the main collecting tray so the animals had some water to swim in

"Is this enough water for the animals?"

Putting the invertebrates in the smaller identification box

"Which invertebrate do you think this is...?"

Perfect teamwork to get the testing done
Thank you to all team members who worked hard today to get the samples we needed.  We will post the results on the WaiCare website, as we have done in the past.  Then we will have to compare the samples over time and come up with some conclusions.  We will be collecting samples every month and uploading them to WaiCare's website.
The Eco-Warriors team.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Big Tree Problem in the Elm Park Reserve, Pakuranga, Auckland

Our attention this week was on the litter under one of the big trees on the Elm Park Reserve.

We have been concerned about this tree for many reasons:

  • the huge amount of rubbish under the tree - mostly plastic bottles and lots of alcohol cans
  • damage to the tree - graffiti and boards nailed up as platforms
  • all the litter makes this a dangerous place for children
  • litter can make its way into the stream

Have a look at this ongoing problem in the photos below:
Platforms are nailed into the poor tree...

The rubbish was a dismal sight...

This photo doesn't really show how much litter there was! We have to go back next week to pick up the remaining litter.

We set to work with our tongs...

We filled 2 large bags with alcohol cans.
They were recycled.

What is this??

Briana finds something worrying...

Litter from our EPS Gala last weekend...

Broken glass is a worry on our lovely reserve

More glass down by the Pakuranga Stream

We also found cardboard, pizza boxes, plastic 2L bottles, a plastic straw cover off our milk containers, and the contents of a vacuum cleaner (just dumped at the end of the turning bay at the end of the driveway).  This made us very sad.  We believe we need to treasure our green spaces and keep them pleasant places for children and adults to have fun. 

The other problem is that litter ends up in the stream which flows into the Tamaki River and then out to the sea.  This pollution affects marine life and, ultimately, our FOOD CHAIN (fish and shellfish) and the larger marine mammals.

So, we are very concerned.  We decided to go into the Wai Care March Monitoring competition in order to raise awareness of our stream's problems and also restart our monitoring of the water quality.  We have kept records of past water quality testing and we have lots of photos to help us analyse what is happening in our Pakuranga stream
We are twenty three strong...
and have grown from smaller groups since 2011.
Watch out for the post after our water monitoring session on Wednesday 12 March with Julia Tuineau.  Julia is an expert from Wai Care who has taught us over the years about water quality and how to identify invertebrates.

Nga mihi nui
The EPS Eco-Warriors