Curious children discovered skink footprints on ink pads and beetles in the sand at Castlecliff Beach.

It's Sea Week and six primary schools and a home school group are having sessions at the Whanganui beach to find out more about it.

On Monday about 114 children from Durie Hill School took part in five workshops. They collected plastic litter from the beach with Horizons Regional Council Enviroschools facilitator Ron Fisher.

Read more: Conservation comment: Drastic plastic catastrophe

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They were to prowl through the dunes with Graham and Lyn Pearson from Castlecliff Coast Care, to see what lived and grew there. With Whanganui Regional Museum educator Margie Beautrais, they looked for small creatures in the sand, and found sandhoppers and scarab beetles.

A Sarjeant Gallery educator provided tools and helped them make personal adornments out of shells, pumice and driftwood. Conservation Department community ranger Scotty Moore told them about putting out an ink pad to get clues about animals at the beach.

The children could see what creatures walked over it, leaving their footprints, on the way to a bait of peanut butter. They found prints from a hedgehog, mice and a skink.

Also converging on the Castlecliff Surf Club at noon were about 190 children from eight Keith St School classes. Teacher Mitzi Madden said they had walked there from North Mole.

They were drawing pictures of what they saw, and were encouraged to notice and wonder about things, then find out more back in class. The children had noticed rubbish, herons and boats out at sea.