Environmental Blog

Welcome to our Environmental group.   Our main goal is helping with the Tuhaitara Coastal Park and bringing it back to it's original state.  This covers the coast line from Pines Beach to Waikuku.  We learn about things such as plant communities, pest control, animal and plant life cycles, our regions native wildlife and plants and more. Our group has our own area at Pines Beach which we have started to plant out and will gradually expand on.  This is our footprint that we are proud to leave for the future….

Environmental Group 2017
A new year and we are lucky to have 16 super keen members of the Enviro Group who take part in sessions every two weeks. For many of us, it is our first year ever! For some it is our second year being involved in the group. Read about what we do every time on our blog below.


Week 1 Term 4 By Kaylee and Kacey
Can you spot the mudfish fry (babies) in these photos? They are only about 1cm long!
Week 9 Term 3 By Emma
This week we learnt about Global Warming, and how it has an impact on us. We also went down to Pegasus and looked at the new A24 traps. On the way there we looked at the lagoon, and found a new friend for Greg called Harry the Bug.
Week 7 Term 3 By Dylan
This week in Enviro group we went down to a small river that Tuhaitara Trust had made. There was also a wetland so Greg had put some barley straw between the stream and the wetland so the silk from the sand banks wouldn’t go into the wetland. Greg talked about how the different plant there self seeded and got caught by the wind so they don't’ have to keep planting heaps of plant. He also taught us how wetlands are so important in the eco system.
Week 5 Term 3 By Brooke and Kaylee

Week 1 and 3 Term 3 CANCELLED
Week 9 Term 2 By Sarah and Brooke H
We planted some spinifex plants and we also planted some 'eyebrows'. We got told a story of what the eyebrows did and it had to do with the legend of the maori gods. Ana got a certificate for doing a doctorate that isn't like a normal doctor! We also got a sheet that says some tips that Greg has given us. Also we learned that taking tips is very important because you can keep up with  what happened and what to do. Another thing we learned was about PH so we know what PH is!
Week 5 Term 2 By Louwtjie and Kaylee
First, the enviro group did some observations each. This time we found something  different in the trap. We found a big rat in the trap. We also got some water from the pond into a tube to measure how dirty the  water  was. There was a magnet being moved by our partners and we looked through the tube to see  when the magnet disappeared and reappeared. Our group went to have a look at the nibble cards.
Week 3 Term 2 By Brooke H and Emma G
In Week 3 Enviro Group, we went to our Biota Node which is called Planting the Past for the Future and we cleared the traps which were full of yummy dead flat hedgehogs.  There was moldy, poisoned food in the trap as well.  Also, Brooke was the lucky one who got to open the traps! We also talked about how Australia are pretending to sell OUR Manuka Honey. We just think they are jealous! We also talked about how some rust flew over the west of the North Island but landed on the east of the North island. And we got even luckier near the end because a Siamese “Puddy Tat” threw up a furball.! Exciting!!!
Week 1 Term 2 - Cancelled
Week 10 Term 1 By Kiriama and Kacey

Today at Environment Group we found out that the government wants to double the amount of sewage that is in the water so that means we would swim in it! Their goal is to make 90% of New Zealand's water swimmable by 2040. However, they are only changing the measure to say water is swimmable at a higher level of sewage. Also today we looked at the rain  guage. We went on a trail and we got to see this gigantic mushroom and a platform that overlooked a little lagoon. We also found out that they have a weather radar from the Antarctic  on the platform!!!

Week 8 Term 1 by Emma G and Abbie M
(See photos on the right)
  • This week in environmental group we learnt about planting plants and fish that like to breed in brackish water r(half salt water half fresh water). We planted some cabbage trees  (Ti Kouka) in the soft soil which was soft because of the weather; it was raining! This is good for the plants in the environment because it stops the plants from dying of thirst. One of our ‘dreams' to achieve is to make Air New Zealand change to environmental cups, or biodegradable. Greg waddled through the tough long grass just to get Fart-filled Mud which was actually some Raupo which we transferred to our biota node.
Week 6 T1 by Ollie and Annaliese
(See photos on the right)
We created drawings of wetlands and how they work when it rains.Greg showed a diagram of how the ground works as a sponge and soaks up water. We learnt about the two purposes of wetlands; to hold water and stop flooding/ erosion, and to filter water. After our posters, we went outside in the rain to check the rain guage. A photographer came and took pictures of us, Greg and Rex. 
Week 4 T1  by Kaylee and Brooke
(See photos on the right)
This week we went to the biota node for the first time this year and it was new to most of us.We started off with looking around the biota node and we then shared our observations. We put some peanut butter on the cards and put the cards on the trees. The animals bite the peanut butter and then leave teeth marks on the cards so we know what animals/pests we are dealing with.Greg told us that Coffee Culture had biodegradable cups.We want to convince Air New Zealand to get them too. When we were there, a little friend (a grasshopper) payed us a visit. Dylan and Louwtjie  picked it up.
This year we have 14 very keen members of the Enviro Group who take part in sessions every two weeks. Read about what we do every time on our blog below:
Week 8 Term 4 by Ollie and Blake
We were measuring the plants today and checking the traps. As you can see, we caught a rat! The plants are growing really well, especially the kahikatea.
Week 6 - Postponed due to earthquake
Week 4 Term 4 By Hikaru and Felicity
This week we went to the node. First we did an observation sheet to record everything we could see, hear or feel. Then we checked the traps and found a moldy dead hedgehog. After that we helped the plants grow by releasing them. Releasing is when you pull out all of the weeds around the plants so the weed roots don't strangle the plant roots and we can see the plants better. Now the node looks tidier and healthier.

Week 2 Term 4
Ms Hazlett went with us today to the office at Woodend. We got things organised for the Tuhaitara Coastal Park Open Day in early November.
(No Week 9 session due to production)
Week 7 Term 3 By Jude and Blake
On Tuesday week 7 the environmental group went out and released all of our native plants in the node. We took a look around the node and tried to spot some changes. One of the changes was the pond which had got to 70cm from the top of our measuring stick down. After, the environmental group ventured out and took a look around some other nodes. We noticed that a lot of pine trees had been cut down. It looked like some of the workers were bored so they made a seat out of pine.
Week 5 Term 3 By Lily C
On Tuesday the Enviro Group was at the Woodend office and we were drawing pictures about something to make the environment good and clean. This will be for the Tuihaitara Coastal park Open Day display on Sunday 6 November. I  did a picture of the rubbish on the beach and how we can improve it. Some of us did a drawing of the native plants/ animals  and how rubbish is killing them.
Week 1 Term 3 By Thomas C and Connor
Today we went down to the node to check out how the plants we planted last time were going.  It has been 4 weeks ago when we last saw our biota node so it was great to catch up with Greg and Ana. We also went for a walk to the node next to ours and saw how they were going.  It was a very frosty morning so their entire pond was frozen over.
Week 9 Term 2 By Thomas C and Thomas C
We went down to our visit the node and we then planted some kanuka all over the node. To find the difference between kanuka and mauka, feel it. Manuka is 'mean' (prickly), kanuka is 'kind' (softer).  We also checked the trap and found a flattened dead rat.
Week 7 Term 2 By Evie
Today for Enviromental group we had a trip to the Woodend beach to collect litter and learn about some beach plants. A visitor from Brazil, Anna, came to speak to us about other important enviromental information about how Brazil is losing a lot of it's forest and native wildlife.
Week 5 Term 2 By Dylan

Today for enviro group we did scrap booking with news papers that Greg has been collecting for the past 5 years. We had to sort them into piles like forests, beaches, rivers, estuaries and things to do with people. Then we had to start cutting and gluing them into the scrap books.

Week 3 Term 2
This week we went to our node in the freezing cold, and found a dead rat in the DOC 200 which is a trap that we set. We put a water monitor in the water to see how low/high the water was. After that, at the end we looked at some chew cards on the trees and learned about the Nursery Spider.
Written by Blake and Ollie
Week 1 Term 2

This week we worked very hard under the hot sun to water the trees that the student volunteer army had kindly planted the week before. We got buckets, filled them with water, and walked to where the plants were. We then watered them to ensure they survived. After that we talked about climate change and how it will be very dry this summer.

Written by Felicity and Tessa.

Week 8 Term 1
This session we went to the trail near HQ to go to the pond and we got three different types of aquatic plants.
They were to put in our nodes pond for the mudfish to lay their eggs on when we get them and also for the micro-invertebrates for the mudfish to eat.
By Thomas Cockburn
Week 6 Term 1
Today we finally got to go back to our biota node! First when we got to our biota node we had to look around and find what was new in it. Next we had to release the plants (releasing means that you let the plant have some space to breathe and you pull out all of the grass and weeds around the plant). Then we got to have a look at the the burnt scene of the fire 1 or 2 years ago.
By Connor Gibson
Week 4 Term 1

This week we had an introduction to the head quarters and Tuahiwi School's biota node. We also looked at the beach, and talked about how the plastic is bad for the environment and the wildlife on the beach.  We also talked about the fires in Pines Beach and if they had affected our biota node. We had a look at google maps to see what had burned down in a year. We have enjoyed our first day back and are excited for next fortnight. 

By Felicity and Tessa

Week 6 Term 4
 This week we had planned to watch the movie 'Home'. Unfortunately only half of the group were here because of Beach Ed so we couldn't. But fortunately it was a really lovely day and the sun was shinning. This meant that we were allowed to go to the beach and do a beach clean up. We were on the beach for about an hour and found lots of rubbish. We found lots of fireworks and beer bottles/can because of drinking at Guy Fawkes and setting off fireworks on the beach. We also had a nice walk along the beach and it was a lot of fun.
By Katelyn and Emma Bl
Week 4 Term 4
When we got to our Biota-node we had a chat about what has changed in 9 weeks. After that we started to plant Manuka trees around the pond and then we went for a walk to some other peoples biota-nodes and looked around at what they had done differently.
Some people had put statues in their Biota-nodes and some didn't have a pond. Me and Thomas found a piece of dead wood with huhu grubs in it. We decided to put them all on to a boat and set them adrift in the pond.
By Thomas, Thomas and Connor
Week 2 Term 4
Today we did planting in the community! We spotted a patch on the side of a hill at Woodend Beach that was bare and extremely ugly.  We decided to fill it with natives, and then raced to beautify the land scape. We succeeded as by the time we had finished natives covered the landscape, it was magnificent.
For a while we had always wanted a Environmental Group jacket and they had finally arrived we looked very stylish and the jackets were also very warm and waterproof. Beach Clean Up- Like normal we did a beach clean up but this time we only found a few pieces of rubbish and a sock. People are finally heeding our advice about keeping New Zealand green.
By Felicity and Holly  
Week 10 Term 3
Today we went to HQ. We went to see the logging nearby to see how long it has taken and howithe environment is a sand dune system. We also saw what the local community did by planting native plants.
By Thomas Cockburn and Connor
Week 8 Term 3 2015
Last week on Tuesday we had enviro group. We  went to  Woodend.  We got to use the GPS  to track down the traps for rats  and mice. 
By Lillyrose
 Week 6 Term 3 2015
 This week at Environmental Group we went over to the node to make observations about the day, even though the one thing that kept popping up was that it was cold and rainy. Another would be that a rat tried to take shelter in our trap. Sheesh, not a good idea! Anyway, the day was cut short by the atrocious weather and we enjoyed a hot cup of milo in the staffroom.
By Thomas Corin
Week 4 Term 3 2015
This week we supplied the pond with duck weed. We planted some new plants in our node. We are hoping to create the correct envroment for mudfish and other native creatures.We are trapping pests to save the birds and lizards.
By Xanthe and Abbey
Week 11 Term 2 2015
This week we went Mud fish hunting. Some people from working waters trust had already set up some traps. When we checked out the first trap we were succsessful WE CAUGHT A MUD FISH!
The second wasn't so lucky and we were starting to lose hope as all the traps had nothing more in them ... until the seventh trap where we caught a galaxid.
We weighed the fish, measured them and guessed the difference between them. After that we let the fish back into the water as we are not allowed to take them to our pond until we are told otherwise.
After we were done with the fish we looked in a trap near the lake and found that something had tried to dig under it because it was to big to get in the trap. However something else was the perfect size and got squished in the trap. That something was a rat and it smelt, really bad.
By Felicity and Holly.
Week 9 Term 2 2015
This week for environmental group we were looking at aquatic invertebrae and how they affect the eco system and everything in it. We also went and looked at the Tuahiwi Biota Node and what they are doing with it.
Then we went down to the beach to see how the sand is being eroded by the sea. We also started to pick up rubbish because there was so much rubbish all over the place and on such a small stretch of beach.
We found lots of bits of plastic including bottle tops and numerous beer bottles and I even found a wine bottle. We also found three lighters and a lynx bottle. Overall we had a really good time and we felt very proud of ourselves for picking up so much rubbish.
By Emma Bl
 Week 7 Term 2 2015
On Tuesday we went to environmental group, and Greg bought in 3 little test tubes of water from our pond in our Biota node.
We examined what kind of creatures were in the water,took them out and put them into little lids, and had a closer look at the creatures under microscopes. 
These were very fascinating because they were transparent and you can see all of the algae covering the body of the little insects. You can also see their heart beating and see all of the different organs inside the body.

By Emma Be and Abbey P
 Week 5 Term 2 2015
On Tuesday morning our Environmental Group set off to our biota node in Pines Beach. We had to take two van loads of students to get there. When we got there, Greg wasn’t there so we had his son Dan and a city council worker, Rex. First when we got there, we had to observe our area around the biota node e.g. checking if the plants were alive or checking if there was anything in the trap [ Doc 200 ]. Next we walked over to the ute and got some spades out and some NZ Native plants like toetoe, kowhai  and ti kouka. But there are some other grasses that people get mixed up with and are not native to New Zealand. We started to plant those native plants around our biota node and Felicity and Holly were throwing a bucket with a stone into the pond while running around the pond to get water for our plants. While we were doing that, Greg arrived and he joined us for the rest of the time we had. Next we got to look at the trap and when Dan opened the trap we said “It’s a hedgehog!”

It was gross. There were maggots all in the hedgehog’s body. We took the body out and made a grave for it, and then Dan needed some help to re-arm the trap from Greg.

By Tom C, Mitch and Connor

Sub Pages

Media Gallery

Week 8 T1 by Emma G and Abbie M
5 media items
Week 6 T1 by Ollie and Annaliese
2 media items
Week 4 T1 by Kaylee and Brooke
4 media items
Week 3 Term 2 2014 setting a trap we've had rain!
16 media items