Schools newsletter October 2017

This edition: Biosecurity and biodiversity — and Kevin Archer's final farewell.

My last goodbye

Kevin Archer.

Kevin Archer.

Emily Roberts.

Emily Roberts

It is with pleasure that I can inform you that Dr Emily Roberts, a Marine Biologist at the Council, has been appointed as my successor as Education Officer.

Many of you will have met Emily through her work in a number of recent environmental projects including Project Hotspot and Dotterel Defenders.

I have had the pleasure of working with Emily on a number of occasions, both in schools and out in the field, and I have always been impressed with how easily she relates to people of all ages. Emily and I are working together throughout this term before she takes over completely in January. — Kevin Archer

Setting a digital listening device to monitor native bird and bat populations.

Setting a digital listening device to monitor native bird and bat populations. 

Biosecurity and biodiversity

The Council’s Environment Services Department has two sections, Biosecurity and Biodiversity. Both sections work together on many programmes.

What's the difference?

Biosecurity Section

This section’s role is to control the unwanted organisms that live here or want to live here and by doing so cause considerable harm to our environment.

The unwanted pests in Taranaki include 27 pest animals, 22 pest plants, and 4 pest fish. The control of all of them falls into three categories.

  1. Eradication – This is the complete removal of the pest from Taranaki. An example is the rook, a crow-like bird that causes considerable damage to pasture. To the best of our knowledge we believe there are no longer any rooks living in Taranaki.
  2. Containment – Where we feel that total eradication of a pest is not possible, we endeavour to reduce its numbers and to eradicate them altogether from certain areas. Our possum control programme falls into the containment category.
  3. Surveillance – The surveillance category is mainly about education and advice. An example of this could be when an individual sees a pest fish such as a koi carp in a stream and contacts the Council for advice and guidance as to what he or she should do about it.

Controlling pest plants helps agricultural production and restoration of native habitats.

Biodiversity section

Magnificent kahikatea tree.

Magnificent kahikatea tree.

This section is devoted to protecting and restoring native ecosystems. Loss of habitat and the effects of invasive plants and animals are the greatest threats to the region’s remaining biodiversity.

While all remnant bush, wetlands and dune lands are important, the Council has a voluntary process for identifying and restoring special areas called Key Native Ecosystems, or KNEs. They have been assessed as having indigenous biodiversity of regional significance to Taranaki.

In July 2017 we had identified 235 Key Native Ecosystems in the region, 193 of them being on wholly or partly owned private land. 88 have biodiversity plans to control pest plants and animals.

How we can help schools

  1. Kevin and or Emily can talk to your class about our Environment Services programmes.
  2. Kevin or Emily can arrange for a member of our Environment Services team to talk to your class about pest animals and the methods we currently use to control them. We can bring along some of the ‘stuffed animals’ which are always a big hit.
  3. We can lend you up to five tracking tunnels/inkpads/footprint sheets to help you identify the animals that visit your school/live in your bush etc. Kevin or Emily can give your class tips on how to set these up.
  4. If you have a special area of natural habitat at your school, our Environment Services staff could talk to you about how to control pests.
  5. You can download a variety of information related to both biodiversity and biosecurity from our website including study units, mini units and information sheets.

Download the full newsletter in PDF format:

SITE newsletter 83 - October 2017 [PDF, 790 KB]