Girl Guides from all over New Zealand had a five day camp in Auckland, with a focus on science and the environment. At Matuku Link we treated them to a whole range of activities, with the help of Dr Grace Hall, arachnologist/entomologist from Landcare Research, and Dr Kevin Simon, associate professor at the University of Auckland in freshwater ecology, and their students.

Kevin treated the very enthusiastic young ladies on a demo of electric fishing and they collected water samples and identified all sorts of living inhabitants of our streams. They got an up-close-and-personal experience with a koura (native freshwater crayfish), which they renamed “Lobster Dude”, sparking the conversation on the difference between lobsters and crayfish, and they had a good look at a (and I quote): “very cute baby eel”!

Grace brought microscopes and lots and lots of small pots, to collect all the “bugs” she caught with the Girl Guides by having them beat the bush, literally! Whatever fell out of the branches they hit, was collected on sheets and put into those pots for further study in the barn. A number of stick insects, a katydid and many different sorts of spiders, beetles, cockroaches and some ants were identified.

To keep the troops happy, we were able to give them some of our donated ice creams from our friends at Nice Blocks – thank you!

After lunch the girls learned about birds and their threats, predator control, pets and pests, and helped out in the nursery. A hot and long day, one we hope will grow the interest of these amazing young ladies in the sciences and the environment.

Maybe we’ll see them again, on one of our working bees, at a camp next year or maybe as a student on their PhD!

Annalily & John Sumich

All images by Annalily – let me know if you want a copy – thank you!