Monday, December 2, 2019

Stream Health Study


An Investigation by Hawera Christian School - Habitat Heroes: 

  •  Sienna MacRae
  •  Alex Langdon
  •  Olivia Corrigan
  •  Emma Langdon
  •  Suzy Corrigan 
 And Doug Hutchinson, Clare Rowan

Authored by: Sienna MacRae, Alex Langdon

 AIM: To determine the health of the stream at Nowell’s Lakes Walkway.  METHOD: A 30 m length of stream was divided into 3 sections.

UPPER SECTION: This section was open, flowing water. The stream was 30cm deep, vegetation partly shaded the stream but did not completely overhang the water.  MID SECTION: This section was deep at 40cm.  The water was weed covered and overgrown, but there were no big trees overhanging it.  DOWN STREAM SECTION: This section was about 20-30 cm deep, but was fully enclosed with little free flowing water and was very weedy.

1) Water temperature reading: A thermometer was used to read the temperature. The thermometer was held in the water for 30 seconds before reading. Upstream 18 degrees Midstream 18 degrees Downstream 18 degrees. The weather the preceding week had been very warm. Optimal stream health should be around average of +15C.

2) This was a survey of fresh water crayfish in all three parts of the stream and bucket sample of water determining invertebrate life.  The results were UPSTREAM: At this site we found multiple freshwater small and medium crayfish, around 20 backswimmers and 2 snails.  MIDSTREAM: At this site we found big water spider, 15 backswimmers and a few crayfish.  DOWNSTREAM: At this site we found 1 large crayfish (14 cm) and 6 backswimmers.

OTHER FACTORS:  Wind drift from the nearby Fonterra factory could be blowing milk powder dust into the area and providing extra nutrients for the crayfish. One Koura we found was larger than usual size supporting this theory. Milk powder in the water could also be toxic to wild life. When the fish produce babies, the toxins may cause breeding problems and defects, and may affect the future crayfish community.

NZ CRAYFISH / KOURA NZ crayfish can be fresh water ones and salt water ones. We did our study on fresh water ones. They live in fresh water under weeds, hiding in the mud surface. They only meant to grow up to 12 cm and we found some up to 14 cm which is not normal. They are quite independent creatures, and the bigger ones can scare the smaller ones away. They eat the weeds and little backswimmers.

 OUR CONCLUSION: We are concerned that the stream may not be as healthy as it could be. It seems healthy but the larger sized Koura and the warm water temperatures indicate that further in-depth study may be required to see if the stream has some pollution. We need to stop polluting our rivers, streams and seas because it affects the life of the creatures that live there – it poisons their environment and even if they survive and produce young ones, it has an effect on them. Big factories should pay attention where their vents are and monitor the air quality around them, to make sure they are not polluting the environment.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Walkway Trust Thank You

Douglas Hutchinson of the Nowell’s Lakes Walkway Trust attended school today to say thank you to the Habitat Heroes for their help at the Walkway during 2018 and for the on-growing native seedlings at the school. 


Friday, December 1, 2017

Enviromental Champs

But who knew?

The Taranaki Reginal Council has made 16 Environmental Awards for 2017 and, as always, there was a real buzz at the presentation ceremony on 9 November. 

The overwhelming feedback each time is that so many people aren’t aware of the fantastic work taking place all over the region to care for and improve the environment. The awards are a great way to showcase and recognise these efforts.

Presenting the awards, Council Chair David MacLeod praised the commitment and determination of the award winners, saying it explains why Taranaki is at the forefront in environmental achievement in so many ways.

“If there was a Ranfurly Shield for good work in the environment, we’d have that in our trophy cabinet too,” he says. 

Pictured:  HCS Habitat Heroes' who were among this year's Environmental Awards winners. Winners and video profiles:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Big Planting Day

We the Habitat Heroes led our whole school along with teachers and parents to the Nowell’s Lakes Walkway to plant out our native plants.  The Normanby Lions Club guys had places ready for the planting and showed us what to do.  The best part was the sausage sizzle that they put on for us all at lunch time.   Go to the “2017 Class” page to see more.   

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Plant Transfer

Today we started shifting our native plants grown in our shade house, to the Nowell's Lakes Walkway, ready for the big planting day latter this month.  The Chairperson of the Nowell's lakes Walkway Trust Mrs Jan Dunlop came to help us.   She said that the Trust was very pleased with all our good work.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Bird House Builders

So today Doug has got us building Bird Houses.   We are using the Gourds that we grew previously in our garden at the school now that they are nicely dried out.   These are bird homes for sparrows so we have to make sure that the front doors are only large enough to fit them and not those bigger and naughty starlings who might like to think that they could take over.