At Kuaka we actively run & manage reforestation sites. Your students see what's involved in returning marginal farmland & once great wetlands to their natural state. They learn & discuss how we use scientific methods to measure the success for such projects & how these monitoring practices could be 'Taken Home'.

Healthy environments depend on clean water, on trees & on the resources those trees provide and protect.
We focus on how the themes of land stability, water quality & biodiversity relate as key principles in environmental health.


Land stability

Protecting land from erosion, on steep hillsides & on river banks, protects water sources & minimises sediments. Planting trees in these vulnerable areas slows the water by creating natural barriers & allows the water to soak into, then filter through the soil.

These results can then be measured, both in the growth rates of the trees & by the health of the ecosystems downstream.

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   Riperian Planting   We plant the right plants, in the right place. We use a variety of native species depending on the type of habitat being created & the access to water.  We use planting spacing designed to maximise their dominance over exotics & we plant in areas around waterways, where we can have knock-on downstream benefits.


Riperian Planting

We plant the right plants, in the right place. We use a variety of native species depending on the type of habitat being created & the access to water.

We use planting spacing designed to maximise their dominance over exotics & we plant in areas around waterways, where we can have knock-on downstream benefits.

   Biomass / Carbon Sequestration   A further value of planting trees is carbon offsetting. We monitor a specific species biomass to calculate the carbon absorption of our project sites. Against this we are building data on how geography, topography & seasonality effect these results.  Trees sequester carbon & offset the environmental impact of travel.


Biomass / Carbon Sequestration

A further value of planting trees is carbon offsetting. We monitor a specific species biomass to calculate the carbon absorption of our project sites. Against this we are building data on how geography, topography & seasonality effect these results.

Trees sequester carbon & offset the environmental impact of travel.

   Sedimentation  (Measured by Indicator Species)  Downstream marine health is degraded by sediment in the water. We use indicator species to give a profile on the health of estuaries based on land stability in the overall watershed.  Using a species whos food source & environment are incredibly susceptible to damage from sediment, we can track growth habits along a transect line.


Sedimentation
(Measured by Indicator Species)

Downstream marine health is degraded by sediment in the water. We use indicator species to give a profile on the health of estuaries based on land stability in the overall watershed.

Using a species whos food source & environment are incredibly susceptible to damage from sediment, we can track growth habits along a transect line.


Water Quality

Water quality is the best indicator of the health & stability of an ecosystem, change is found in the water.
We focus on water catchment modelling to highlight the interconnections between the sites we visit.

   Oxygenation  (Measured by Indicator Species)  Oxygenated water supports animal life. Our test is a presence / absence survey identifying species & which of those species need an oxygen rich environment to survive.


Oxygenation
(Measured by Indicator Species)

Oxygenated water supports animal life. Our test is a presence / absence survey identifying species & which of those species need an oxygen rich environment to survive.

   Visual Assessments   Students examine riparian areas, environmental & geographic factors that play a role in water quality. Along with turbidity (water clarity), temperature & tests on water volume movement are conducted.


Visual Assessments

Students examine riparian areas, environmental & geographic factors that play a role in water quality. Along with turbidity (water clarity), temperature & tests on water volume movement are conducted.

   Chemical Testing   Students test bacterial count, lead, pesticides, nitrates, chlorine, pH & total hardness levels on-site using mobile water quality measuring kits, at different sample sites along a water-course.  We cross check these with the oxygenation data to acess the health of the stream system.


Chemical Testing

Students test bacterial count, lead, pesticides, nitrates, chlorine, pH & total hardness levels on-site using mobile water quality measuring kits, at different sample sites along a water-course.

We cross check these with the oxygenation data to acess the health of the stream system.


Bio-Diversity

The most important measure of change is the presence of large numbers of different species.
We highlight for students that there is an abundance of life all around them, the health of one species can depend on another & that if we follow natural processes we can restore degraded habitats. We complete multi species surveys, seek out predator / prey relationships & cross reference this measure with minimal sediment & high quality water to be confident of a healthy watershed.

   Multi Species   Using a quadrant survey, students identify the bio-diversity of an estuarine environment & the relationships between those species. They develop food chains & look for the gaps & imbalance in the overall food web.


Multi Species

Using a quadrant survey, students identify the bio-diversity of an estuarine environment & the relationships between those species. They develop food chains & look for the gaps & imbalance in the overall food web.

   Understory Regeneration   Quadrants of both open & reforested areas are monitored for new species growth to measure which natives are germinating on their own, when maintenance can be scaled back & how geography, topography & planted species effect these results.


Understory Regeneration

Quadrants of both open & reforested areas are monitored for new species growth to measure which natives are germinating on their own, when maintenance can be scaled back & how geography, topography & planted species effect these results.

   Trakka Tunnels   The New Zealand designed Trakka Tunnel system is a presence / absence fauna species identification survey, with the baited ink pads allowing species identifacation from footprints. Both native & predatory species are monitored.


Trakka Tunnels

The New Zealand designed Trakka Tunnel system is a presence / absence fauna species identification survey, with the baited ink pads allowing species identifacation from footprints. Both native & predatory species are monitored.