Forgotten Fauna Focus of Feilding-held Horizons Hui

| By Sarah Williams, Enviroschools Regional Coordinator, Horizons

The kaupapa of Enviroschools is about empowering young people to take action on things that are important to them. We were excited to give 60 Year 5 to 8 young enviro-leaders the opportunity to learn about some of our lesser known fauna, our forgotten fauna – lizards, fish and bats, what they can do to take action on preserving these wonderful creatures, and connect with each other.


Sarah Williams, Regional Coordinator for Enviroschools Manawatū Whanganui sets the scene for the day, supported by facilitator Rowena Brown.

The Forgotten Fauna hui was held at Mt Lees Reserve in Feilding, a Manawatū District Council managed reserve, and a place that is local to many of the schools attending, but not often visited.

Alastair Cole from  Wildlife Foxton Trust (who support local education and plant propagation for native gecko and fish) brought along some native and non-native lizards/ mokomoko, including a Northland green gecko (one of the rarest and most highly sought after lizards) and the South Island forest gecko. These were a huge hit with the students.



“I loved everything about the day especially holding the lizards. After we learnt the bat echolocation game we went back to school and played it with the other students”. Keira Carter, Hiwinui School student

This Northland green gecko (Naultinus grayii) had a guest appearance in Fielding thanks to Wildlife Foxton Trust.

Getting to know about forest gecko – mokopirirakau.










Staff from Wildbase Recovery (who provide shelter and care for native wildlife during rehabilitate after treatment at Massey University’s Wildbase Hospital) talked about native fish supported with a tankful of eels and bullies collected by staff from Horizons Regional Council science team.

Horizons biodiversity staff talked about bats/ pekapeka and how the regional council monitors private bush blocks for signs of our native furry mammal, and what they do to protect them. Students heard about ways in which they could take action and monitor wildlife at school through making lizard tracking tunnels and making stream scopes to look underwater and researching the type of habitat needed to support these animals.

Teachers accompanying students to this event had an opportunity to connect with other Environmental Education for Sustainability (EEfS) providers and hear what they have to offer schools.

“The students loved the day. On return to school they created a slideshow of the event to share what they have learnt with the rest of the students in their enviro-groups. They all want to know when the next student hui will be!” – Teacher Jayne Palmer from Manchester Street School

Each school who attended came away with resource pack including books on native fish and nature heroes, resources to help make a bat box, and a native ground cover plant for creating lizard friendly habitat.

Now that we have run this hui, we are planning to take this topic to different districts.

Horizons Environmental Educator and Enviroschools Regional Coordinator Sarah Williams, was heartened by the excitement and interest shown by the students, commenting that this was exactly what the Horizons Enviroschools team wanted to achieve.

“I loved holding the lizards because I really like reptiles. I also didn’t know we had bats in New Zealand.” Paige Badger, Hiwinui School student

Friendly introduced species.

Getting up close and personal.