Students, teachers and local communities teamed up with Landcare Research and Lincoln University to record what weeds are growing in their areas and to find out what insects might help control these weeds.
The number of weed species in New Zealand has now overtaken our native flora. Westland is a weeds ‘hot-spot’ and Brian Mason Trust funds allowed us to teach our ‘Weedbusting’ programme (Sept–Oct, 2016) to 130 students from six schools on the West Coast:
By using new smartphone apps, students learnt how to identify and record weeds and native plants. They uploaded 366 observations onto school projects on the NatureWatch NZ ‘Citizen Science’ platform.
Students also collected and pressed 178 herbarium specimens from their school grounds and field trips to local areas.
Following our school visits, two families from Haast and Kaniere travelled (in Dec 2016) to Landcare Research, Lincoln, to visit the Allan Herbarium and Biocontrol Facilities to learn about our research.
Thanks go to the Brian Mason Trust for making this project possible in Westland. It was part of a wider ‘Winning the War Against Weeds’ project funded by an Unlocking Curious Minds (MBIE) grant.