The CatchIT programme is well underway at Tauhoa School. On 3 August, Liz Maire, The Forest Bridge Trust Education Coordinator held a meeting for parents and students at the school. Liz introduced the program and the students were provided DoC 200 and Timms traps for deployment at home. They were also given tracking tunnels and cards so that they could get an idea of the kinds of pests in their neighbourhood.
Liz started out by giving an overview of the Forest Bridge Trust and the CatchIT Schools programme.
She gave the group some background information about introduced pests and the damage that they do.
After explaining the different types of pests, Liz then introduced the different kinds of traps that are used to catch them.
The students got a chance to see how a DoC 200 trap works!
At the end of the session each family group was given a Timms trap and DoC 200 and trapping information.
On 10 August, Liz held a follow session with the students to help them interpret the tracking tunnel data they had collected. Each student had been given a tracking tunnel and a card with instructions on how to use it.
Liz started the discussion with a review of what had been discussed in the first session.
The students then broke into groups to review the tracking tunnel cards and to see what they had found. Liz explained how the tracks should be interpreted and gave the students helpful hints on how to identify different creatures’ footprints.
Once all of the tracks had been identified, each group presented what they had learned.
Liz then summarised the information about the creatures identified.
Today the students were also given mouse and rat traps. Liz reviewed how the traps work.
And the students brainstormed on different kinds of lures that might be used in the traps.
They were then given a chance to set the mouse traps and to learn how to place them in their protective pipes. The pipes prevent birds and pets from accidentally triggering the traps.
The students were each given a log sheet to keep track of what they catch and the bait they use and this data will be accumulated as part of the larger CatchIT programme.
The CatchIT programme would not be possible without the help of a number or people and organisations.
We want to thank Warren Agnew of Gotcha Traps for providing tracking tunnels and cards, Auckland Council and the Rodney Local Board for providing rat and mouse traps and rat tunnels, the Mataia Restoration project for providing mouse trap tunnels, the Auckland Council Biosecurity Team for the Timms traps and Auckland Council’s Rodney Environmental Education Fund for partly funding our environmental educator.
We’d also like to thank Liz for her hard work in preparing and presenting the sessions and handling all of the many administrative details such as numbering and accounting for all of the traps.
And we especially want to thank the staff, students and parents from Tauhoa School for being part of the CatchIT programme and for your enthusiasm and support. We know you will catch a lot of pests and make an important contribution to the health of New Zealand’s plant and animal life.