Week 4: Protect and Preserve
Over the past three weeks we have been learning about our amazing environment(s). There are so many incredible plants, animals, and natural wonders to enjoy here on earth. If we want to keep enjoying them, however, we need to be careful and thoughtful about what we do and how we act.
This week we are going to talk about what we can do to protect, preserve, and sustain our natural world. We are going to become ‘nature ninjas!’
DAY 1: Preserving the Past
Activity 1: World of Wearable (WOW) Art [4 points]
If we want to protect our natural world, we must be thoughtful about what we make, how we make it and how we dispose of it (throw it away). At the moment, the waste in New Zealand is separated into two main categories: 1. Recycled items (eg. bottles, cans, paper) and, 2. Non-recycled items (rubbish). Most of the rubbish is collected by rubbish trucks and taken to a rubbish tip (landfill) where it is dumped and never used again. Much of the recycled material is to taken to a place where it is sorted, separated and sent out to be used again.
The idea of reusing materials was taken to a whole new level by a woman named Dame Suzie Moncrieff who, thirty years ago, created an event in New Zealand called the ‘World of WearableArt’ (WOW). WOW takes place in Wellington (and in other cities) every year. Artists from around the world create outfits made entirely from recycled materials.
Let’s imagine that you were invited to this year’s WOW awards and you were able to interview the creator.
On your blog, list five interview questions that you would like to ask Dame Suzie Moncrieff.
Activity 2: Guardians of the Sea [4 points]
One of the largest rivers in New Zealand is called the Waikato River. It is found in the central part of the North Island of New Zealand. The river (awa) was given the name ‘Waikato’ (meaning flowing water) by a group of men and women from the Tainui iwi who, legend has it, travelled down the Waikato years ago and settled in the area. According to Māori legend, the Waikato River has hundreds of taniwha (mythical water spirits) living in it, guarding the sea.
Unfortunately, the Waikato River has become polluted in recent years and is, sometimes, closed to the public. This is very upsetting for many people, especially for those who believe that taniwha live in the river. Please click here to read about taniwha and watch this short video about taniwha.
Once you have finished learning about taniwha go to your blog.
On your blog tell us whether, or not, you believe that taniwha exist. Be sure to explain to us why you feel this way.
Activity 3: The Sky in Shanghai [10 points]
One day I would really like to travel to China. It is a country with a rich history, vibrant cities, tasty food, and fascinating architecture (buildings). Unfortunately, some of the largest Chinese cities have high rates of air pollution. The air pollution in Beijing, one of the largest cities in China, can get so bad that roads are closed, flights are cancelled and events are postponed while they wait for the smog in the air to clear. The terrible pollution is also having fatal (deadly) effects as, approximately, 1.1 million people in China died last year from air pollution-related causes. The Chinese government is very concerned and they have introduced a number of strategies (ideas) to reduce the pollution levels. Imagine that you were asked to travel to Beijing. How would you feel?
On your blog, write a poem that describes your feelings about travelling to Beijing, China.
DAY 2: Protecting Our Own
Activity 1: A Flying Fox [4 points]
New Zealand has some of the most beautiful forests in the world. Both New Zealanders and tourists, alike, enjoy walking through these forests. Unfortunately, constantly walking through forests can damage the plants and animals (flora and fauna) that live there. In an attempt to protect the local flora and fauna, an eco-tourism company in Rotorua came up with an idea. The Rotorua Canopy Tours Company designed a series of ziplines that sit above the forest canopy (top). People can ‘zip’ from one section of the forest to another, looking down on the beautiful natural areas below. To see what ziplining looks like, check out this video.
I have tried ziplining and I really enjoyed it, however, I must admit that I was pretty scared to try it at first. How would you feel if you had the chance to go ziplining in Rotorua?
On your blog, tell us how you would feel about going ziplining in Rotorua. Try to use some descriptive words (adjectives) and action words (verbs) in your post!
Activity 2: A Protective Plant [4 points]
There are concerns about the water quality of some of the rivers, streams and oceans in and around New Zealand. Some people have suggested that we plant flowers and plants on the banks of our most polluted rivers to stop the spread of the pollution. Apparently, the plants can act as filters, absorbing some of the chemicals (pollutants) that are moving across the land, on their way to the river.
Planting can be a lot of fun! Have you ever planted a garden? Aronui and I are going to make our very own edible garden this year. We are going to plant a number of veggies, fruits and herbs, including mint, coriander, parsley, lemongrass, onions, tomatoes, beans, zucchinis, kumara and strawberries. Yum! If you could plant an edible garden what would you plant in it?
On your blog list 10 veggies, fruits, or herbs that you would plant in your garden.
Activity 3: A House is Not a Home [10 points]
New Zealand is home to some unique wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. While we work very hard to protect our natural habitats so, too, do people living and working in other countries. One of the oldest international wildlife conservation organisations is called ‘Fauna & Flora International’ (FFI). They support a number of projects around the world, including those working to protect Lansan trees in the Caribbean, fruit forests in Tajikistan, and national reserves in Mozambique. Read about each of these projects and choose the one that interests you the most.
On your blog, tell us which project you find most interesting and why..
DAY 3: Taking Action
Activity 1: Predator Free 2050 – A Call to Arms [4 points]
There is currently a huge drive to get rid of all predators from New Zealand. Predators are animals that, in some way, damage our natural environment. Many organisations are working hard to accomplish this goal.
Click on the links below to watch videos about three of the current projects operating to make New Zealand ‘Predator Free by 2050.’
Activity 2: Protecting the Most Vulnerable - Fact or Fiction? [4 points]
Here in New Zealand we have a native dolphin, the Māui Dolphin, that is on the verge of extinction (disappearing forever). As of this year, there are only 63 Māui dolphins left and people predict that they will be extinct by 2033. Environmentalists and activists, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), are working hard to save the dolphin because it is such a special and unique animal. To learn more about the Māui Dolphin, please follow this link. If you would like to sign a petition from the WWF encouraging the New Zealand government to take action to save the Maui Dolphin, please follow this link.
Once you have learned more about this unique dolphin, it is time for you to share your learning with us.
On your blog, post three facts that you learned about the Māui Dolphin. Then, using your imagination, create three more statements about Māui dolphins that are not true (i.e. false). Please don’t tell us which of your statements about Māui Dolphins are true and which are false. It will be the job of the students and staff who read your blog to figure it out.
Activity 3: The Power of Ten [10 points]
Sir David Attenborough is a famous TV presenter from England who loves nature and the natural world. He has spent his career filming documentaries about the planet and working hard to protect it. In a recent interview, Sir David was asked to reflect on all that he had learned and to imagine that he had suddenly been given the power to save 10 animals and/or plants from extinction (disappearing forever).
Let’s imagine that you had the same power and that you could save 10 species (animals or plants) from extinction. Who would you save? If I had the choice I would probably save animals like the elephant, white tiger and rhinoceros because they are unique and have lived for centuries on earth. I would also like to save some of my favourite flowers including hydrangeas and calla lily flowers. What about you?
On your blog, list 10 species (animals or plants) that you would protect from extinction. For each one, give a reason as to why you think it is important to protect.
DAY 4: Making Promises
Activity 1: Campaigning for Conservation [4 points]
New Zealand is home to so many beautiful, unique and, sometimes, endangered animals and habitats. The Forest & Bird organisation is working really hard to protect vulnerable animals and places in NZ. They are doing everything that they can to raise money and to raise awareness so that everyone knows about these issues. These are called ‘campaigns.’ Check out the Forest & Bird campaigns site to learn more about them.
Imagine, that you have been hired by Forest & Bird New Zealand to work on one of their campaigns. It is your job to come up with a catchy slogan for the campaign. A slogan is a short phrase or sentence that is used to advertise something. Check out examples of common slogans and logos below.
On your blog, tell us which campaign you have chosen to support and provide us with a slogan for that campaign.
Activity 2: The Plastic Pledge [4 points]
Some companies in New Zealand have heard about the problem and agreed to cut down on their use of plastic. Countdown supermarkets, for example, have announced that they will stop giving out plastic bags to customers. What do you think of this idea? What do your friends and family think? Is it a good idea or not?
For this activity, please ask one member of your family and/or a friend what they think about Countdown’s decision to go ‘plastic bag free.’
On your blog, tell us what they think about Countdown’s decision to stop using plastic bags.
Activity 3: Restricted Access [10 points]
While much of our programme has focused on New Zealand, it is important that we also consider the environment in other places as well. One of the most unusual and spectacular sites to visit outside of New Zealand is called Machu Picchu. It is an ancient city that was built high up in the mountains in the country of Peru in South America. You have to take a train and/or walk through a series of mountains and valleys to reach it.
Over the past few decades millions of tourists have made the trek to Machu Picchu. Unfortunately, this has damaged the area and the local government has decided to restrict the number of visitors to the site each year. This decision has upset a lot of tourists who really want to see Machu Picchu but aren’t allowed to go.
On your blog, tell us what you think about the government’s decision to restrict the number of tourists able to visit this special site. Is it fair? Be sure to tell us why you feel the way that you do.
DAY 5: The Sky’s the Limit!
Activity 1: Environment Day - Beat Plastic Pollution [4 points]
Every year we celebrate World Environment Day in June. On World Environment Day we do what we can to protect our planet. This year the focus is on reducing the use of plastic bags and water bottles. Watch this Environment Day video to learn more about it!
What could you and your family do to protect the planet?
On your blog tell us three things that you could do to help save the planet.
Activity 2: Adoption Day [4 points]
Not only can you help the planet by reducing, reusing and recycling, you can also help to save animals and plants by ‘adopting’ them. To ‘adopt’ an animal through the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), you need to visit their adopt a species page, read through the list of animals and choose one.
With the WWF, you don’t actually adopt the animal and bring it home! It’s a symbolic adoption. In this case you pay a fee ($55.00) and the money is used to provide food and care for your chosen animal. Visit the WWF site and take a look at the animals who are available for adoption. Choose your ‘top three’ animals from the website.
On your blog, list the three animals that you have chosen and then compare and contrast them. How are they similar? How are they different? At the bottom of you post, tell us which of the three animals you would most like to adopt..
Activity 3: Concluding the Journey [10 points]
Sadly, the Summer Learning Journey has now come to an end. It is time to reflect on everything that you have learned about the environment and, particularly, about how you can protect and preserve it.
On your blog please tell us:
What is one thing that you learned from participating in the Summer Learning Journey programme this year?
What is one thing that surprised you?
What is one thing that concerned or upset you?
What is one thing that you (or your family) can do, moving forward, to help protect our natural environment?