Project Janszoon and DOC launched the Abel Tasman education programme in 2014 to increase local students engagement with the Park. Future generations are becoming the kaitiaki (guardians) of the Park, enjoying and protecting the benefits from its ecological restoration, and learning along the way.
The Adopt a Section programme involves three local schools taking ownership for a section of the Park. The schools have all grown their relationships with the Abel Tasman, incorporating the Park into the curriculum using inquiry based learning. Students can earn NCEA credits in subjects as diverse as biology and design incorporating their Abel Tasman learning in assignments.
All of the schools have contributed greatly to their sections, involving students and their families in projects including planting, dune restoration and bird releases. Teachers and parents say the education project provides clear learning benefits and the students enjoy the hands on involvement and opportunities to interact with DOC and Project Janszoon experts.
Work is now underway to grow the programme to involve more local schools.
Later in 2018 we plan to launch our Education Toolbox for schools - keep an eye on the website.
The iconic dune landscape at Anchorage, one of the Park’s most popular destinations, its’ estuaries, and regenerating forest across to nearby Watering Cove is Motueka High School’s special place in the Park.
Motueka High School and its teachers have incorporated the Abel Tasman into every aspect of their learning. Students study subjects as diverse as biology, geography, design, science X, physics, adventure skills and outdoor education, and earn NCEA credits in a number of classes. Even The Base, the schools supported learning centre, visits the Park as part of the education programme, and the Whanau, and media studies classes are planning to incorporate the Abel Tasman into their learning in the near future.
The school has been heavily involved in the Anchorage dune restoration where gorse was removed and native dune species planted to reduce the fire risk in the area. Almost every class that visits Anchorage helps with the weeding and maintenance of the plantings – a job not as fun as planting, but just as important.
Year 12 Geography students above Anchorage
Hadfield Clearing with its small remnant kahikatea stand is a unique site now home to both rare pāteke/brown teal and Project Janszoon’s major forest restoration project. It provides a diverse learning environment for Golden Bay High School students.
The Awapoto river becomes a fresh water ecology classroom and biology students study both planned and natural restoration in the former farm site. Students can earn NCEA credits for their learning and one class has even stayed in the site overnight.
The release of 20 pāteke at Hadfield Clearing in early 2017 was a special moment for students and local iwi, Manawhenua ki Mohua. With more of these rare dabbling ducks likely to be released over time there will be further learning opportunities available involving the feeding and monitoring of the birds.
The students and their families have helped plant many trees and flaxes at the site and over time will be able to watch the forest mature and know they were a major part of this restoration.
Y12 biography students study at Hadfield Clearing
Motupipi’s ecologically diverse section from Wainui sandspit to one of the Park’s most historical sites at Taupo Point gives the primary school students the opportunity to undertake a conservation journey.
Motupipi Primary engages with their site at a whole school level. Over the years the students knowledge has grown, with younger students beginning their learning about plants, native wildlife and pest animals on the sandspit, and older students being rewarded on their last school year with a trip to the historically rich Taupo Pt.
The students monitor bird species, weta and plants and are able to see how they change year on year. They also take responsibility for their section and in 2016 presented a site restoration plan to the Golden Bay community – an incredible undertaing for primary school students.
Wainui sandspit is a Fire Smart priority site and students and their families work with Project Janszoon’s restoration supervisor and DOC to remove flammable plants like gorse, plan and undertake planting, and carry out weeding. The school is embracing its site and increasing its connection with the Park.
Motupipi's Amalie Macready releases a pāteke
Launched in 2014 the Abel Tasman Youth Ambassador / Pokai Rangatahi (ATYA) programme is fostering a passion for learning about the Park in an enthusiastic and inspiring group of students who will become the next generation of conservation leaders.
Students apply to be ATYA members annually, with four representatives chosen from each Adopt a Section school and two iwi representatives nominated by Te Awhina and Onetahua maraes.
ATYA students meet at regular events during the year including a summer and winter overnight retreat in the Park. As well as team building, and leadership training they get to enjoy hands on learning like fish monitoring, animal tracking, spotlighting, tree planting and discovering the special places in the Park.
As youth ambassadors the students get opportunities to represent the Abel Tasman in forums like the Sir Peter Blake Trust’s Youth Environmental Leadership Forum and Department of Conservation national youth hui.
Teacher and iwi representatives are an important part of the programme so special thanks must go to Bev Purdie, Helen Young, Heidi James and Mark Mackenzie for their time and expertise to ensure the success of ATYA.
2018's Abel Tasman Youth Ambassadors
Abel Tasman Sea Shuttle is a keen supporter of the education programme, transporting Motueka High School students to their site at Anchorage and providing access for ATYA students to many areas of the Park.