Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Leeston Consolidated School, Canterbury

Visited 10th April 2019

Murray Dawson of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research (MWLR) visited Leeston School for half a day on Wednesday 10th April 2019.

This visit was the result of Carol Davison, Assistant Principal of Leeston School, contacting Ines Schönberger (the Allan Herbarium Manager) to ask if MWLR could provide some learning experiences to their students.

This provided an ideal opportunity for Murray to deliver the weeds programme to 14 Year 5 and 6 ‘Ecowarriors’ in the school, supervised by Team Leader Alison Boon. Leeston Consolidated School is a Decile 8 school with a roll of about 400 students.

Murray began our morning together by using puzzles and activities to teach the class what weeds are, why they are a problem, and the different types of weeds.

Murray then set up seeds under microscopes so that students could study how they disperse. These seeds included agapanthus (gravity, water, and wind dispersed), dandelion (wind dispersed), and dock (gravity, mud, and dispersed by physical attachment).

Next, there was a ‘show-and-tell’ where local weeds collected by Murray were passed around the class to learn about them and why they are weedy.

We then used smartphone apps to learn how to identify the weeds by understanding their characters.