The Waikato region has many ‘special places’, ranging from well-known tourist spots to more secretive places known only by locals. There are many things you and your class can do to make sure these special places remain for those following in your footsteps.
Most of us are familiar with the well-known tourist spots around our region. For example we have the:
We also have internationally recognised wetlands at Miranda, the Kopuatai Peat Dome and Whangamarino wetland. And lets not forget our fantastic swimming and surf beaches.
Many of us have a particular ‘corner’ or special spot we really enjoy visiting. It might be a patch of bush, a local stream or pond, or a local park. Wherever it is we can all play a part in protecting it for others to enjoy in the future.
Schools can play an important role in protecting special places in your local area. Schools can get involved in:
This activity gets your class to take on the role of a ‘Special Place’ Tourist Bureau for your local area.
Divide your class into small groups. Each group decides on a place that’s special to them. For example, it could be a local patch of native bush, a stream, beach, rocky shore or pond. Then get them to design a brochure to promote their special place.
Get each group to think about the following questions when designing their brochure:
You might like to include photos and pictures as part of your brochure. Don’t forget to send examples to us here at Environment Waikato.
Get your school and local community involved in protecting our ‘special places’ by:
Where ís your favourite stream for finding bullies? What do you think lives in the stream at the bottom of the farm?
Where ís your favourite beach for the summer bathing or the midwinter plunge? Will it still be the same in 2020? Can you school help a local Beachcare group?
The Waikato region has approximately 1,150 km of open coasts and estuaries. Nobody within our region lives further than 111 kilometres from a coast. We have sandy and rocky beaches and estuaries that are great places to take students.
The eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula has several estuaries and wide sandy beaches, some of them with many dunelands. The western coastline of the Coromandel Peninsula has rocky, narrow beaches with some sand and some gravel beaches. There are four large estuaries with the intertidal flats of the Firth of Thames that are an important habitat for wading birds.
The West Coast of the region has long sandy beaches with large dune areas behind them next to the river mouths. The coastline is renowned for its strong winds and the great left-hand surf break at Raglan. There are three large tidal estuaries that provide important natural habitats for plants and animals.
Find out more about our region’s coasts.
Did you know that Orakei Korako has over 30 geysers? Have you seen a geyser blowing its top?
The geothermal areas in our region are ideal places for you to study ‘active’ geothermal activity. Find out more about geothermal resources in the Waikato region and check the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science(external link) for more information.
Where is your nearest stand of native vegetation? What will it look like in 20, 50 or 100 years time?
Find out more about native forest fragments in our region.
How many native birds visit your school on a regular basis? What other wildlife do you have living in your school grounds?
Some native species are unique (endemic) to the Waikato region. For example, Archey’s frog is only found in Whareorino Forest (south west of Te Kuiti) and in the Coromandel Range.
Our region also has endemic insects, such as the:
We also have unique plant species:
Many plant species found in our geothermal areas are common only in the Waikato. These include some ferns that are usually associated with tropical areas.
What can your school do to help protect our native plants and animals? That boggy patch down the back of the school could be the perfect area to be converted into a native wetland area. The scruffy garden that has been bugging everyone for years could become a perfect place for a native tree area that will encourage birds and become a great learning resource in the future.