The New Friends in Our Garden

Hunting for skinks and lizards teaches students about ecology and native fauna…

Amlie Sutherland with an Otago Skink.

With some skinks listed as threatened species, Enviroschools in Otago have been doing their bit to create safe gardens for the reptiles.

St Gerard’s in Alexandra and Clyde Primary School have both run monitoring programmes to find out how diverse the wildlife is in their local areas.

After finding skink tracks in the Project Gold native bush area near Clyde Bridge, the Envirogroup at Clyde Primary have acquired 10 pest traps with the help of Alexandra Rotary Club. The trapping programme helps to control predators to keep skinks populations growing.

Opoho Primary School used their Enviroschools Empowerment Grant to establish a lizard garden at their school.

Opoho students sorting rocks for the lizard garden.

When the students assessed the biodiversity at their school, they realised they didn’t have any lizards in the grounds or surrounding areas.

The students then researched and designed a lizard habitat, and presented their design to their Board of Trustees.

Opoho have now been able to go on to select plants, source rocks and logs, and work with parents to build a new habitat to try and attract the Southern Grass Skink.