Wetland Signs
South Featherston School

Summary: With support from the Department of Conservation and Enviroschools, children at South Featherston School have created a range of colourful signs to help educate visitors to the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands to look out for threatened bird species that are breeding nearby.

Rare and threatened birds that use Wairarapa Moana as a breeding ground have been getting some help from the children of Room 3 at South Featherston school.

The student’s took part in the Whitebait Connection programme for Wairarapa Moana and learnt about the various issues facing the wetlands complex, and undertook scientific investigations into local streams and rivers, exploring the biodiversity of the area.

After completing the programme the students and teacher Peter Hull thought carefully about how they could step up to being guardians of the precious wetlands. It turns out the Department of Conservation were also getting concerned about human activites around breeding sites for wetland birds, and were in need of some convincing signs.


Learning about the threatened bird species that use the Wetlands as breeding grounds and struck by how far they’d travelled (some as far as Siberia) and the risks to their nests from vehicles, dogs and waste left by visitors, the students decided to use their creative skills to ask visitors to be considerate of the unique animal and plant-life.

Multiple signs were made up by the class using everything from crayons to computers.

Some of the biggest threats to the wildlife in the area were highlighted by the signs and students were eager to help the rest of their community understand what they could do to help protect the vulnerable birds.

The signs were made up with the assistance of the Department of Conservation and Enviroschools and were then distributed around the special breeding spots of the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands. Gary Foster of the Department of Conservation believes the signs do a great job of sticking out and communicating the role locals and visitors, children and adults can play in making sure the Wetlands are around for many generations to come.

Gary congratulated the children on stepping up to be guardians of Wairarapa Moana and recognising this special and unique Taonga in their backyard.

“Not only are the kids picking up great scientific skills around observing and monitoring their environments they feel invested in the areas and realise they have a responsibility and the ability to protect and nourish their local waterways”