students with penguin nest boxes

Westland High School conservation students have been taking direct conservation action by building and then installing nest boxes at a colony near Greymouth.  The conservation class, led by Deputy Principal, Peter Brailsford, have been exploring the threats to and needs of penguins locally.

One project sought to help penguins up an erosion bank to their nest site near Hokitika (find that story here) and the latest project involved building new nest boxes and installing them in the Camerons coastal area near Greymouth.

penguin nest boxes
Gorgeous day at the beach, getting the new nest boxes to the nest site


The West Coast Penguin Trust’s education programme supports teachers to take students on a voyage of discovery, learning about the smallest penguin in the world whose ancestors have been sharing our beaches for some three million years before we arrived.  (Read about fossil little penguins here.)

Having learned about the biology of little penguins or kororā, students go on to explore the situation locally and consider what threats there might be to the survival of this threatened species in their back yard.  The next step will be to consider taking action!

These conservation students are helping provide shelter for kororā.  In the coastal area north of the Taramakau River mouth, erosion over the years has lost nesting habitat and the Guardians of Taramakau and Paroa Coastal Area Trust have installed nest boxes as well as carry out rat and stoat trapping there.  New nest boxes will mean that the penguin colony could grow, which will be both exciting and useful as we hope to expand the kororā monitoring and research programme there.

Huge thanks to the students and their wonderful teacher, Peter.  Great job team, and such a perfect day for it!

penguin nest box installation
WHS students dig in a nest box