Trap-happy teens


Wakatipu High School students are getting stuck in and doing their bit for the Predator Free 2050 campaign.

Twenty-nine students have joined a team that works with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to undergo trapping and data training.

The team, headed by teacher Lee Hiestand, recently undertook a trapping training tutorial with DOC and local ecologist Dawn Palmer, where they learned how to safely set and install traps designed to target stoats and rats.

They’ve also been attending a variety of pest-free presentations and workshops, and installing tracking tunnels for data-gathering purposes around the Wakatipu.

Once they’ve been give the health and safety tick by DOC, they’ll start to think about field work, Hiestand says.

She reckons they’ll start to put traps out in the next couple of weeks.

She’s delighted to see the students’ interest in giving threatened local bird species, such as black-billed gulls, black-fronted terns and crested grebes, a greater chance to thrive.

“Wakatipu High School students have shown an incredible attitude towards this project.

“From the very start they have been studious, observant and passionate.”

Principal Steve Hall says he’s proud of their commitment to conservation.

“It’s excellent to see our students use those opportunities to make a real differ-ence in their local community.”