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EOS Ecology's school engagement on inanga recognised in awards


05 December 2017

EOS Ecology has been recognised in two conservation and engagement awards in 2017 for their work with communities and schools on improving inanga/inaka/whitebait spawning habitat.

The EOS-led Whaka Inaka, the Whaka Inaka Pest Monitoring Module, and Environment Investigators are linked stories about inanga that span two years of action and many years before that of planning.

Through these programmes EOS engaged over 2,000 young people in Christchurch in learning about their local river, with a particular focus on inanga. Christchurch was once well renowned for abundant inanga spawning, but changes to the river banks where they spawn has meant that legacy has been in decline. Changes wrought by the 2011 earthquakes further changed where inanga spawn.

In 2016, EOS Ecology partnered with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and University of Canterbury in Whaka Inaka: Causing Whitebait - a science project that provided temporary inanga spawning habitat, identified inanga spawning locations post-earthquake, and engaged local community, iwi, and schools on the ground to achieve real change. EOS also developed a Pest Monitoring Module as part of the Whaka Inaka programme, which saw 650 students collecting data on pests and dog poo along the river that culminated in the first ever ‘pest and poo’ report card!

Following the inanga theme, EOS Ecology led a Whitebait Connection programme called Environment Investigators. 1,200 students in 2016 and 400 students in 2017, aged 3-15,  learnt all about inanga. They investigated "the Love Zone" (spawning habitat), looked after inanga in classroom tanks, and were assisted in undertaking action projects to improve inanga spawning or raise awareness in their community.

This body of work was recognized first as a finalist in the NZ River Awards and then as a finalist in the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board Awards. As part of the NZ River Awards that were announced in November 2017, the River Story Award celebrates contributions of young people in improving New Zealand’s waterways. The Conservation Board Awards, also announced in November 2017, recognize the efforts of local organisations and individuals in supporting conservation in the wider Canterbury region, and for 2017 had a ‘water' theme. Our placing came with a $500 prize, which we used to gift a National Inanga Spawning Education Te Whariki pack (full of fun learning materials about inanga and produced by EOS Ecology and Whitebait Connection) to a local kindergarten that we have engaged with on our inanga programmes.

We, along with all of our project supporters, partners, and our 2,000 young guardians - should be proud of our combined efforts and take heart in the knowledge that through these efforts, our city’s rivers will be a better place for inanga.

EOS Ecology with their NZ River Story award
Kirsty, Erron and Shelley from EOS Ecology with their NZ River Story award. grey-BR
This video was produced as part of our NZ River Story Award entry. grey-BR
EOS Ecology receiving the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board award
Kirsty from EOS Ecology receiving the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board award from Chairperson Mick Abbot. grey-BR
Gifting the Te Whariki pack
Gifting the Te Whariki pack – a fun learning pack about inanga - to Kindercare Ferry Road. grey-BR
Kids learning about inanga eggs and spawning
Kids learning about inanga eggs and spawning as part of the Whaka Inaka programme. grey-BR
Kids involved in inanga habitat assessments
Kids involved in inanga habitat assessments as part of the Environment Investigators programme. grey-BR

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