In a bid to eradicate predators and protect native bird life, Whanganui primary school pupils are swapping school shoes for gumboots.

In July last year the Government announced its goal of ridding the country of possums, rats and stoats by 2050.

And St John's Hill School have been leading the way with their Halo project.
A group of Year 6 pupils have led the project by setting up traps around the school grounds and monitoring them daily.

Deputy principal Kevin Booth said it was about educating the pupils and creating awareness of predator damage to native bird populations in the school's backyard.
"The ultimate aim is to eradicate predators within the school grounds and eventually beyond," he said.


"We will be approaching our neighbours to ask them for permission to set up traps on their properties."

Lachie Burroughs, 10, rated the project a 10 out of 10.

"We can't just sit back and relax, we have to keep going because we don't have a pest fence so they can still get in."

Mr Booth hopes the project will work as a framework for other schools.

Finding native bird nests with half-eaten eggs, and spotting predator footprints were just a few of the drivers that kept the pupils motivated.

Year 1 pupils were also part of an earthlings group and have been helping to grow native trees on school grounds.

Lachie said they were teaching Year 5 pupils about the trapping to carry on the Halo project.

"The tracking tunnels have been really cool to identify footprints ... we've found hedgehogs, a mouse, rats and even stoats. It's an awesome project."

Mr Booth has gained support from Bushy Park volunteer educator Robin Paul as well as Department of Conservation community ranger Scotty Moore and Sara Threadgold, and Bushy Park Sanctuary manager Mandy Brooke.