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Celebrating ten years of ACG Sunderland: Project Twin Streams

For the last ten years, students and staff from ACG Sunderland have been involved in Project Twin Streams – a large-scale environmental restoration project to improve water quality in Waitakere streams delivered by Community Waitakere.

“The school’s participation has taken many shapes over the last decade, at all levels, and much of it on our doorstep at Henderson Creek,” said ACG Sunderland Principal Nathan Villars. “Our students’ hands-on involvement has not only enhanced their learning in art, science, social sciences and technology, but also helped them understand the importance and value of service, community work, and care for their environment.”

Last year ACG Sunderland supported Community Waitakere’s successful application for funding to expand the streambank work into Epping Wetland.

Primary Dean Leanne Chartrand said in a letter of support that the school was committed to supporting the Epping Wetland Restoration Project.

“Every term all primary students visit the streambank and carry out vital weeding and planting of native trees under the guidance of Chris Burton and his excellent team from Community Waitakere. They also learn about the flora and fauna of the area and how to protect the native species from pests.”

She said the children loved working with the Community Waitakere team and were involved in a range of activities from studying ecosystems to carrying out water testing, and identifying native plants and birds.

This year, as on ongoing project, Biology students have been taking part in pest monitoring at Epping Reserve. At each tracking station, students collected tracking tunnel cards and chew cards; identified footprints and chew information; inputted data; removed the night vision camera and examined footage of station activity; and calculated the tracking rate for tracking tunnels and compared it with last year’s tracking rates.

Science Faculty Coordinator Teresa Barlow said the experience was invaluable for students. “In 20 years of teaching in the UK, I’ve never had students who have had this kind of opportunity. It is science in action, theory being applied in the field and not just for the sake of it, but actually yielding results that are being used to affect decisions about our environment.”

She said the team at Community Waitakere had gone out of their way to facilitate our school and get them involved in this local wetland over the last ten years.

“I hope it develops a long-lasting understanding and interest in our pupils for their environment.”