Every day Pauline Stephinson remembers why she is spending the year as a Royal Society Fellow at Aroha Island. It's for the children.
The teacher of 5 years believes her experiences helping to improve the ecology of Northland will
make her better able to bring an environmentally responsible message back to her classroom at Oramahoe School near Kerikeri where she teaches years 3 and 4.
“Children really want to know about the environment and it's a natural thing for them to want to find out about,” she said. “They are also like sponges, they remember how many legs a creature has got, whether it has hair on its back and what it eats.”
Nature and the environment has always been central to her teaching and that was a reason she decided to apply for the Royal Society Fellowship.
“Teachers can now incorporate Environmental Education into all subject areas using the Ministry of Education's Environmental Guidelines. For example we can use statistics to find out the predominance of a tree species in a given measured area.
“Every day here I am writing notes about useful activities and ideas I can take back to school.”
Pauline is looking at the possibility of increasing indigenous biodiversity on private land in Northland.
She explains: “This means restoring species that would be here if there were no animal pests. Specifically I'm working on re-introducing the North Island robin to Russell Peninsula.”