CatchIT Schools at Kaipara Flats School—30 July & 13 August 2015

The CatchIT programme is well underway at Kaipara Flats School after the initial launch on 30th July when, Liz Maire, The Forest Bridge Trust (TFBT) educator, conducted a presentation to the students about pests and their effect on native plants and wildlife. She also demonstrated the use of tracking cards and each student was given a tracking tunnel and tracking cards to monitor pests around their homes.

On 4th August a workshop was held at the school for the parents at the school.  TFBT trustee Chris Roberts briefly introduced the objectives of the Trust and then Liz discussed the CatchIT Schools programme.

She started by discussing the different types of pests that we want to control.

3 Kaipara Flats - rats are pests posterter explaining the different types of pests, Liz introduced the different kinds of traps that are used.  The students and parents got a chance to see how a DoC 200 trap works!1 Kaipara Flats traps demo Aug 2015At the end of the session families took home a DOC 2000 and a Timms trap.2 kaiparaOn In August, Liz returned to see what the students had found on their tracking cards.
Some prints were puzzling, but we had an expert on hand visiting the school for the morning.  Warren Agnew from Gotcha Traps gave the students helpful hints on how to identify different creatures’ footprints.  Warren is the inventor of the tracking card system and had an interested audience. He explained about the differences between male and female stoat prints and had innovative ideas on how to attract these pests into traps – using mirrors and toy windmills!6 Kaipara Flats - Warren Agnew talks to the children about prints of a stoat5 Kaipara Flats - what print is that session Aug 2015The students also reported back on the trapping success they were having with the Timms traps and DoC200s.  Some of the students shared pictures of what they had caught.6a Kaipara Flats - Aug 15 watching photos of children with their catches - Gary O'Brien principal and Liz Maire project leaderSome students are already having success and the most unlikely catch was a ship rat caught in a trap designed for possums and baited with apple!10 Rat in Timms - lure was apple - Kaipara Flats student-page-001

11 Rat in Timms -2 - lure was apple - Kaipara Flats student-page-001

The students were given mouse and rat traps and were given a chance to set mouse traps and to learn how to place them in their protective pipes.  The pipes prevent birds and pets from accidentally triggering the traps.

This was voted the best bit of the session!

Sue Cameron and Jo Ritchie were also on hand to show the traps work and the students had a chance to see how a DOC 200 works.


The students were each given a 4 mouse traps, 2 rat traps, and protective covers to take home. They were also given a log sheet to keep track of what they catch and the bait they use and other relevant information and this data will be accumulated as part of the larger CatchIT programme.

7 kaipara8 Kaipara Flats - Sue Cameron for TFBT enjoys seeing a student setting a mouse trap - Aug 20159 Kaipara Flats - Jo Ritchie helps the students to set mouse traps - Aug 2015Liz returned to the school to follow up with the students on their pest control activities and there were some impressive results!


As always, we have a lot of people to thank for the roll out of the CatchIT programme.  Thanks to 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 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 Kaipara Flats 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.