When joining Scouts (as part of the Scout Law) our youth promised “to have respect for the environment”. Educating them about Wellingtons fresh and wastewater infrastructure fits well with this terms ‘water’ theme and is a great opportunity to explore the environmental impacts of the city’s water use.
Last week Colin Crampton (CEO of Wellington Water) explained to us how Wellingtons fresh water supply network operated. He touched on where our water came from, how much we used and talked about the impact of our use on the regions previously large natural fresh water springs.
Our youth had many varied and occasionally thought provoking questions!
Tonight, February 28th, we visited the Moa Point Sewage Treatment Plant. The sense of anticipation was heightened by having to don protective gloves and high-vis vests. It was therefore a little disappointing to discover that plant was basically a ‘closed system’. Still we did get to peer into the odd open hatch!
Again there was a real interest in how the plant processed wastewater – the youth listening intently to explanations of the various stages of treatment. An appreciation of the complexity of making wastewater was ‘clean’ was gained by everyone. Another great scouting experience!?
On Sunday 26th February a number of Brooklyn Scouts and Leaders attended Zealandia’s Bioblitz Go! – a series of activities starting near the Karori Scout Den before moving onto Zealandia itself.
We began with ‘The Fantastic Flora of Wrights Hill’ which was an opportunity to learn to use the Naturewatch NZ’s iNaturalist app. Observations of plants, animals, microbes, lichens, mosses, fungi, or anything else that caught our attention were made (captured) with a phone or similar (photographed) and identified (online). Observations gave feedback to the organisers of what youth were interested in, and the app. helped identify the object of their interest. RIP reference books!? See: http://naturewatch.org.nz
Then we moved onto Zealandia where Ruud ‘the Bugman’ Kleinpaste (a celebrity to the leaders anyway!) took us on an entertaining walk around the sanctuary looking at Tuatara, tree and cave weta’s, stick insects, the strange life cycle of Puriri moths (NZ’s largest moth), glowworms (in an old gold mining shaft) before trying to spot geckos in the undergrowth.
A display by various scientists gave youth insights into all manner of research topics. One researcher used lay people/volunteers via the internet to identify pests caught by camera ‘traps’ laid around Wellington. He had no chance of looking at all the 100,000 images caught by the camera’s! Fascinating use of the net to an old leader like me!