Determined and ambitious, the Paraparaumu Bird Saver project started out as a 100 plant project.

Quickly deciding that was not enough, the project has bloomed with more than 640 trees and ground cover plants being planted at Paraparaumu Beach School.

For the past year students from Paraparaumu Beach School have been working on developing a predator free programme in their local environment.

Calling themselves the Paraparaumu Bird Savers because of their focus on helping native birds in their local environment, the group is largely student led.

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Paraparaumu Bird Savers with a section of newly plated trees from back, Fraya Marryatt, Leo Nicholas, Emilie Parr, Amy Summers, Sofia Butterfield. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Paraparaumu Bird Savers with a section of newly plated trees from back, Fraya Marryatt, Leo Nicholas, Emilie Parr, Amy Summers, Sofia Butterfield. Photo / Rosalie Willis

"The group is very much student-led, assisted by myself and a parent volunteer," Paraparaumu Beach School teacher David Parr said.

For their first project the students made tracking tunnels to see what animals were making their homes around the school.

The result was tunnels showing footprints of mice, rats, hedgehogs, possums and stoats.

The next step was making wooden trap boxes which have caught mice, rats and hedgehogs so far, with plans to buy possum and stoat traps in future.

"The students are doing a great job of checking and maintaining the traps and would love to start or be involved in the establishment of a wider community project along these lines.

Paraparaumu Bird Savers with their homemade bird feeders in the background. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Paraparaumu Bird Savers with their homemade bird feeders in the background. Photo / Rosalie Willis

"The group was awarded $1000 from the Kiwibank Predator Free NZ schools programme last year towards the trapping programme, which included 100 trees from Trees that Count.

"That got us started on our next project, which is to improve the school environment for birds."

All about protecting the birds, the students have planted natives and nectar producing trees to encourage bird life around the school.

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Last week the the Bird Savers facilitated school-wide planting where every student was able to plant a tree.

"We started off with trappings and now we are doing plantings," student Leo Nicholas said.

"We chose the plants because they have nectar and stuff that birds like so that more birds come.

"We are protecting them by getting rid of their preditors."

"This is a great example of young students who are taking action to improve their environment," David said.

The Bird Savers group has around 30-50 students helping out depending on the project, with their next project in the works being a community trap building workshop.

"This is for the whole community, the kids can invite their neighbours, we want to get more people involved," Bird Saver parent, and PBS board of trustees chairwoman Zoe Pearson said.

"The kids have loved it, some of them have been really into digging the holes, some have been into the planting. They have also created bird feeders for the birds. The school is really good at developing the students environmental conscience."


The project has been made possible by a large number of supporters from around the community including Kapiti Coast Airport, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, A1 Homes Ltd, Composting NZ, Gus Evans, The Perfect Angle, Forest & Bird Kāpiti Mana and Predator Free.