Education Ranger, Lucy, joined forces with Sustainable Coastlines Coordinator, Emma Hunter, visiting local Hokitika primary schools.

Lucy and Emma joined education programmes last week, pulling resources, ideas and skills together. They carried out the first step, called the “Priming session”, of the Litter Intelligence Programme‘s  Four Phase Education Journey together.

Litter Intelligence is Aotearoa’s first and only national litter monitoring programme, enabling communities to collect data, gain insights and take action to prevent litter. Developed and launched in 2018 in collaboration with Stats NZ, the Department of Conservation and with funding from the Ministry for the Environment, the platform provides open, scientifically rigorous litter data from hundreds of survey sites around the country. The West Coast Penguin Trust has been very keen to collaborate with them and the opportunity finally arrived.

The “Priming session” usually involves the “Yoshi Challenge”. Learners begin by listening to the true story of Yoshi the Loggerhead Turtle and then set up and go through an obstacle course to recreate the challenges Yoshi had to overcome on her journey home. However they were looking to adapt the story to an animal that was more personal to students (we don’t see many Loggerheads around New Zealand). We knew just the right animal!

Last week, the “Yoshi Challenge” became the “Kororā Challenge”! Students from all the primary schools in Hokitika township got to learn about the challenging journey our blue penguins have to make each day, and then recreate it, creatively as an obstacle course for the rest of the class to complete. It was a really fun day, full of great education, a lot of laughs and chaos!

Kaniere Primary Blue Penguins get caught in a fishing net
Kaniere Primary students rely on team work to get their Blue Penguins through the obstacle course
St Mary’s Primary penguins try to dodge fast cars on the road – one of our number one penguin killers on the West Coast
Hokitika Primary penguins use their creative skills to create a challenging obstacle course that represents the challenging journey of a penguin each day. (The orange, metal objects represent dogs, one of the biggest threats to penguins on the West Coast.)
Emma Hunter, Sustainable Coastlines, and Kevin, the Trust Kororā mascot, discuss with the students the obstacles for penguins in their day to day lives