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Tamariki release beetles in Māhia

Te Mahia school

Te Māhia School have released two breeds of Dung beetles to complement each other’s nap schedules.

The tamariki will be learning about the beetles at school, says the Regional Council’s Enviroschools educator Jenni Scothern-King.

“Today the tamariki got to hold the beetles and learn about how they eat poo and dig underground – with lots of squeals of excitement,” says Jenni.

“They’ll keep learning about the beetles in their science and maths class, as they learn about how they help our waterways. This is a great way to teach tamariki that everything has its place, and fits in really well with Enviroschools learning and the NZ curriculum.”

A terrarium has been set up in classrooms so the tamariki can learn how deep the Dung beetles dig, and see them in action.

This is the second release in a few months, because Dung beetles are active in different seasons, says Dr Simon Fowler, the Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research scientist in charge of the programme.

“Four types of dung beetle are being released in total because they’re active in different seasons and can cover each other when friends are napping. They act like miniature bulldozers by packing dung down the tunnels they dig up to 60 cm directly under a dung pat, making them disappear faster and blend into the soil,” says Simon.

“These beetles are a win for everyone because they eat poo and, in the process, improve soil quality, and reduce run-off. They head off the issues in the paddocks by eating the poo.” adds Simon. “We’re hoping that all sorts of people around the country step up and release dung beetles. It fits hand-and-glove with all the sweat and dollars pouring into riparian planting to protect our waterways and biodiversity.”

MP for Napier and Minister of Police Hon Stewart Nash visited the school when the children were learning about and naming the beetles.

This release is part of a bigger project looking to future-proofing the farming business, and community and environments. The project looks at sustainable farming practices, and researching different ways of working to become more sustainable.

25 February 2020

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