Shorebird murals reflect heart for environment

Maketu Ongatoro Wetland educator Tania Bramley (back right) with students and the Te Kura o Maketu shorebirds mural on the Maketu Surf Club. Photo: Jamie Moko

Inspiring young people to take hands-on care of their environment is the passion of Tania Bramley, co-ordinator for the Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Society (MOWS) Education Programme.

Tania’s leadership, alongside the expertise of other environmentally minded locals in Maketu, has led to the programme winning the education category at the 2017 Trustpower Community Awards.

The Education Programme, funded by Western Bay of Plenty District Council, began in 2015 with Te Kura O Maketu and has since expanded to include Paengaroa and Te Puke Primary schools.

The programme is also funded by Maketu Rotary and Te Puke Kiwi Coast Lions Club.

The schools’ latest achievement has been creating shorebird murals for the Maketu Surf Club and Park Road reserve toilet block. The artworks, mounted on the buildings last week, are colourful representations of the diversity of migratory and native shorebird life at Maketu and Newdick’s Beach.

MOWS education programme aims to encourage students to become kaitiaki (guardians) of their environment - through restoring and promoting local ecology and bio diversity.

“It is exciting to see the kids get so passionate about their environment. The more they learn the more insightful they become and the more excited they are to see their work bear fruit in the wetland conservation and dune restoration.

“The effect on the students has been most pronounced at Te Kura o Maketu where we have seen the senior students blossom. They are now seeking us out to help with projects.’’

In the past 12 months the programme has included studying the impact of land use on water quality and native fish life in the Kaituna River catchment, migratory and native shorebirds, the Maketu Estuary and its diversion history, dune ecosystems and rocky shore life cycles.

Tania, a marine biologist, helped lead the clean-up around the Maketu coastline after the RENA oil spill in 2010 where she met with MOWS chairperson Julian Fitter, wetland expert Peter Ellery and Council’s Community Relationship advisor Glenn Ayo.

Glenn says the education programme is a wonderful vehicle to engage the local community and schools in the preservation of Maketu’s local environment for future generations.

“While Council funding helps groups like MOWS get essential resources, this is secondary to the immense effort from the three schools, the community and coordinators. It’s great to see them recognised for their work.’’

Maketu’s Market on Sunday, 17 September will be a chance for the community to show its support for MOWS which will have a stall with the Maketu Surf Club to fundraise and promote the new mural artwork.

For more information visit www.maketuwetlands.org.nz/

Page reviewed: 08 Sep 2017 9:53am