Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week 9 Term 3 2010 Conservation Week

Again our group worked down at the creek taking water measurements and checking on any new rubbish around the path and stream.

Some of the rubbish collected
Some areas were disappointing...on the opposite bank particularly, near the houses
Happily, not as much rubbish as last week. This is a good sign that we are keeping on top of the rubbish problem.

Our school recyling bin was vandalised so we have to get another bin.

Article for the Manukau City Council

Taking Action!
By the Elm Park Yr 6 Enrichment Group 2010
This article has also been published and can be found on

Next to our school we have a park, and a stream.  In our Y6 enrichment group we thought we’d look after the stream and while doing so the park became our responsibility too. We heard about the Adopt a Park program and decided to go for it!  We needed ACTION if we wanted our school and the Elm Park reserve to be a healthy, sustainable environment.  Kids thinking for the future!!! We became involved in many different ways…

How we use the Elm Park Reserve
We use our park for several things such as Push Play Day. The whole school does fun activities on this fun-filled day. We also do soccer training for the soccer team on this field as our field is always filled with people playing games.  On athletics day we do high jump, sprints and many other activities.  These are just a few of the reasons why we want to take care of this field.

Why our park is special to us
The public play some sports play games there on Saturday where there’s plenty of space to run around. Our park also has a very inspiring landscape. And after school, kids like to roll down the grassy hill just to have fun.

Our school can take advantage of our park in many ways. In warm summer days, some of the seniors use our park to hold sports events. Younger students even use our park for cross-country. Without our park, our school wouldn’t be able to do a lot of things.

Our Involvement with the Park:
In Year 2 some people in our group went down to the bank of the stream to plant harakeke/flax. We planted the flax in 2006. We planted about 100 plants down on the bank of the stream. The children were helped by adults to plant the flax. The flax started out very small but now they are gigantic.
Harakeke (Flax)

We also took some measurements in year 4. We went down with some things to measure what the temperature in the water and we collected some macroinvetebrates. We collected some but most were macroinvertebrates that live in polluted or mediocre water. None of them were part of the group of macroinverterbrates that only live in pristine water. So we know that our stream's water can be improved.
Identifying invertebrates

Colour coded chart tells us which macroinvertebrates are present in our stream and the water quality

The Year 6 enrichment group have been collecting and observing information from the Elm Park stream. We have been trying to monitor the health of our stream. The data we have been collecting includes the clarity, pH, the temperature and any visible pollution.
Observations on the bridge

Collecting data

We also took some measurements in year 4.  We went down with some things to measure what the temperature in the water and we collected some macroinvetebrates.  We collected some but most were macroinvertebrates that live in polluted water.  None of them were part of the best macroinvertebrates.

This data is posted on the WaiCare website for the scientists. We have investigated the stream’s health by looking for macroinvertebrates that indicate clean water.

It seems that our plantings have made a difference to our stream. In the past two years our steam seemed polluted and dirty but now we have made such a difference that there is only a little pollution and we can see the bottom of the steam. However, our stream has shrunk over the years. We heard that one family used to kayak easily down the length of the stream. Another sad thing is that storm water runs into the stream. Some other disappointments are that while we were trying to save our stream others were polluting it - there was rubbish, paint cans, an old porcelain toilet and a lot of other litter everywhere. We have started on the small litter but we are going to clean it up further in Clean Up NZ Week. Something else that shocked us was that there was a tree that fell towards the stream during a storm. It could have blocked the stream. The good part is that now we have more space to plant native trees.
Rubbish from houses

Adopt a Park
This term we have been working harder now we have chosen to be part of the Adopt a Park programme. We have been helping to plant trees with MCC park rangers and collecting litter that drifts to the park from our school. We were quite shocked by the litter that gets blown to the stream. We showed the litter at the school assembly.
Tree planting with help from some keen Yr 4 kids   

Learning how to plant a tree correctly

We will keep our project going. Conservation Week is coming and Clean Up NZ Week. We will continue taking action!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Term 3 2010 Adopt a Park Tree Planting

We have been working with Robynne Sutton who is a Park Ranger with the Manukau City Council. She spoke to us about all the parks the Council looks after and suggested ways people can use the parks and become involved in looking after them. Volunteers are always needed to help sustain the lovely parks in our area.

Plantings at the Stream

We explored the stream early on to see the trees and bushes that had been planted. Much of the stream is shaded which is necessary for the health of the water. Macroinvertebrates cannot survive in really warm water.
There are many willow trees by the stream and quite a lot of bamboo at the north end of the Reserve but there are some native plantings.
We saw that the flax plants that some students in our group had planted when they were in year 2 had grown very tall!

Flax and willow


Term 3 2010 Adopt a Park Clean Up Time- Photo Essay

Trip to Totara Park- Comparing Sites

In mid term 2 we went to Totara Park to compare our stream.  We measured the things like the clarity and it was cleaner than our stream but they had scummy film on the top of the water which we had not seen at our stream. We discovered some micro-invertabrates there but they were mostly the same as the micro-invertabrates we found at our stream. The environment was different because they had more shade from trees, these trees were actually native to NZ.  The temperature felt cooler but we don't have many trees at our stream. At the end of the trip both streams were the same in invertebrates. (R.K.)

Photos Term 2 2010- Learning How to Test Water and Identify Invertebrates

We are learning to identify macro-invertabrates

Learning the different sections of the macro-invertebrates 

This is the water clarity sheet

This is a picture of us meacuring the clarity when we were down at the stream

This is the flax (Harakeke) that some of us planted in Year 2

This is when Julia told us where to find the macro-invertebrates

 This is a picture of us down the stream next to the bank.

This is a picture of the tray where we find the macro-invertebrates

This is our gear for finding the macro-invertebrates and for measuring the stream.

Here we are taking measurements and finding macro-invertebrates down by the stream

This is the macro-invertebrates chart which we use to identify the creatures we find in the stream.

After we identify the macro-invertebrates that we have found, we organize them into their places in here according to the chart

We learned about water temperature. Macro-invertebrates need cool water to thrive.

Welcome to our blog

We are a group of Year 6 students at EPS. We have been  working together as a group since Term 2. In our Enrichment group we got to choose our own topic to investigate. We meet every Friday at our school for an hour and a half.

Our goal in term 2 was to study our stream and its inhabitants, record measurements and monitor the quality of the water. We went to Totara Park in term 2 so we could compare our stream to another that we thought that may have better quality water.  We were studiying invertibrates because we found out that they were a good indicator to tell how polluted or clean the water in the stream was.

As term 3 came around we realised that as part of our stream's health we had to expand our thoughts to the reserve surrouding the stream. A Manukau City Council Parks ranger offered us the amazing oppertunity to adopt a park. So we jumped at the chance!

Some areas beside the stream really shocked us. One of the first things we saw was...a porcelain toilet on the bank of our stream.  Ewwwww! Because of this we decided to make it our responsibility to clean up at least a little of the rubbish littered around our recycling bin.