Spring sunshine and chickens at Green Island School

Rooms 5 & 6 made the most of the sunny spring weather to investigate what birds and invertebrates live on their school grounds. Spreading out across the whole school the children and their grown up helpers found a diverse range of invertebrates including spiders, worms, beetles, and larvae getting ready to launch into spring. A tracking tunnel baited with peanut butter overnight and hidden in the native garden near Fresh Choice detected an itty-bitty hungry mouse.

A wide array of birds were observed by the children including a species not typically seen at schools; chickens. While we won’t include them in our analysis of birds feeding on invertebrates across school grounds, they live on the farm next door and can’t get through the fence, it was fun to count them in our bird surveys.

Back in the classroom we tallied our survey data all together and started analysing the data with help from the University of Otago and Otago Museum to see what it was telling us. From our data we could make statements like ‘over 17 different types of invertebrates were found to live at school’ and ‘sparrows and blackbirds were the most frequently observed birds during our survey’.

Tahu from Orokonui Ecosanctuary visited and outside in the spring sunshine we learned about what makes an animal a ‘New Zealand native’, what predators they need protecting from and how the ecosanctuary protects them. We dressed up two of our adults as a kiwi and a peripatus, made a strong ‘fence of defence’ and protected them from Tahu who roamed around on the outside as a possum trying to break through. It will be interesting to see the fence for ourselves next year when we visit Tahu at Orokonui. Before then, we will repeat our surveys at Woodhaugh Gardens in Term 4 and see how the data looks compared to the school surveys.

Many thanks to the grown ups for their help with the school surveys and we look forward to more grown ups supporting us with the next step in our peripatus schools journey.