Pelorus Bridge Scenic Reserve recently had an evening visit from students at Hira School to learn about our catchment’s long-tailed bats, a native species that's threatened-nationally critical.
The students were greeted by Te Hoiere Project Education Coordinator Antonia O’Donnell and Forest & Bird's Te Hoiere Bat Recovery Team Leader, Clare O’Rourke.
About 25 students, plus supporting adults, met at the reserve in the evening after spending the day at the Te Hora Marae. Students learned about this threatened species for about two hours, along with the actions being taken by the project to help protect them.
Clare showed the children some pest traps, while Antonia showed them a taxidermist bat and bat detectors. A fun art activity was included, where the tamariki (children) were taught the art of observation and had a go at drawing some bat wings.
Children also played two games, one demonstrating how echolocation works, and another demonstrating the effects predators have on bats. Echolocation is a technique used by bats, dolphins and other animals to determine the location of objects using reflected sound. This allows the animals to move around in darkness, enabling them to navigate, hunt, and find their friends when they can’t see.
Tamariki then headed out on a "bat hunt". Due to the fact that it is winter, when bats sleep, plastic bats were hung on a surrounding loop track for the kids to find. They were handed quizzes and, armed with their torches, headed out to try and find all the bats, along with the answers to the quiz questions about bats.
“It was a lot of fun doing this at night time, and the kids had a blast,” Antonia said.
“The kids had so much fun, we are looking at some post-learning guidelines for the schools to follow up on the children's learning from the evening. I think this will be an amazing programme that we can offer not only the local schools but other schools who visit the area.”