May 2021: It all started with compost!
We need compost to grow healthy veggies and fruit. At Postgate, a few years ago we had a worm farm and collected vegetation for compost. Then the rats came, eating all the scraps and leftover food and we had to stop making compost.
Now, we’ve decided to get rid of the pests at Postgate; we put down tracking tunnels to see which pests took our bait!
We found: mouse, rat, hedgehog and mustelid( stoat, weasel, ferret) foot prints!
We did a bird count and found very few birds, even fewer native birds, landed at the school, during our bird count sessions.
Our Rat eradication journey begins:
Room 1 started collecting items to make our tracking tunnels:
We had evidence of pests, but not definite footprints; we had placed 10 tunnels in various locations near the hall. We learned that in some areas no pests were detected.
WCC came over to check our sites, and donated 10 trap boxes, 10 traps and 5 tracking tunnels & a handful of useful brochures for us.
This was our 1st day tracking!
We tracked each tunnel for another 5 days.
We now had evidence of what to start trapping:
Using our 5 trapping boxes, we placed the ‘unset, baited,’ traps in their tunnels and waited to ‘acclimatize’ the pests to our traps.
Friday June 11 2021, we set our first traps. We then set up a daily group of students to check each trap, remove dead pests, rebait, set it again and to record details.
To date, we have caught 10 mice! And look what visited our school a few days ago
How can you help:
Keep our school grounds clean
When you mess food, pick it up and throw it in the bins.
If you see any rats/ mice, contact Mrs de Villiers and tell her where you saw the rat; dead or alive!
Pick up any litter, as rats & mice forage all the time!
Tidy any garden areas, removing old, broken items to be thrown in the rubbish.
We started our Enviro group many years ago, and in 2020 Mrs de Villiers took over the group – it’s still running ;-).
Our aim: to grow plants, nurture a love of nature and grow food. All growing is non- toxic, we don’t use any harmful chemicals.
Who we are: Year 7 & 8 students; average about 20 students & loads of little helpers ;-)
When we meet: weekly: Thursdays at lunch times.
At a typical meeting: We gather around ; discuss what we are doing for the day, then go ahead and do it. After we have washed our hands, we sit down to a cup of warm tea, in winter, or iced tea, in summer, to recap and relax. Mint tea recipe
What we do:
During the term: Week 3 & week 9: We make our own yoghurt ; each student brings a fruit, which we cut up and add to make a fruit salad. Our yoghurt goes on top!
During the Week 6, we have a food share: This entails brining a food item that contains one of the foods we are growing in our garden.
We started by tidying up our existing garden, moving plants together to create a good look.
We had loads of butter lettuce, self seeded, so we started cutting leaves and taking them hoe to east with our salads.
We have learned about good worms/ versus ‘’bad ones’!
We have learned about pruning plants & shrubs;
We’ve learned what is a weed, and what’s not.
So far, we’ve harvested corn, pumpkins, strawberries, spring onions, silver beet, capsicums, potatoes, Chinese cabbage.
We often make food with what we have grown in our school garden e.g. Pumpkin soup.
Our garden has a special section for growing plants for teas; this is so that we can drink healthier drinks and if we are ill, to improve our health. We grow mint, parsley, pineapple sage, celery, strawberries for teas.
We also learn about Companion planting, where some plants help other plants to grow.
We plant plants to attract bees and other beneficial insects to our garden.
We have added a small irrigation system in November 2020, so that our plants can automatically be watered when we are on school holidays.
We had our own Mini garden Competition: Each student got a paua shell, we added soil and planted out our succulents. Keeping a close eye, we watered and fertilised with worm tea, and our show was at the end of October.
Thanks to: We have had donations from New World( seeds, potting soil & garden bed; Titahi Bay Horticultural Society ( Mrs de Villiers is a member too) gave us money to purchase equipment, seedling mix, more irrigation parts & seeds) Staff donations came from selling cocoa mulch & native trees.
At present, we buy compost and fertiliser, although we sometimes get worm’ tea as well.
We need to have our own compost as well as a potting/ seedling raising area.