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  • Can we make New Zealand pest-free? Lesson 4: Instigate: What’s the solution?

    Urban ecosanctuary ZEALANDIA, with support from WWF New Zealand, has produced a comprehensive teaching resource supporting schools to explore the pest-free vision with students. This series of lesson plans focuses on students becoming actively involved in contributing to a pest-free New Zealand.

    In this lesson, students work as pest detectives, discovering how well matched their predictions are to what they discover on the tracking tunnel pads, which is a good opportunity to observe the habitat and record different conditions that may influence what is able to live in the local environment. Students learn how to use available, safe and humane traps and how to select and set effective traps in the school area.

    Once pests are discovered, discuss these questions:

    • Why are they there?
    • What can we do about it?
    • What difference can we make?
    • How long do we need to do it for?

    Action-based learning has multiple benefits for both students and the environment. As you progress, discuss the sustainability of any actions undertaken by your student’s/school.

    Download lesson plan: Lesson 4: Instigate: What’s the solution?

    Download resources: RAMs (Risk Analysis and Management) – tracking and trapping programme; Trap-setting guidelines

    Additional supporting resources

    He tikanga – te reo Māori and English terms – The activities in this ZEALANDIA lesson plan are intended to be used throughout the whole unit, not as a one-off activity. The intent is to help students become familiar with te reo Māori and English terms mentioned throughout the resource.

    Mathematics and statistics in a real context – The two main elements of this lesson are analysing examples and gathering other sources of data, and collecting and displaying data to analyse to effect real-world outcomes. It can be adapted for higher levels of learning and shows the relevance of mathematical skills in a real-life context.

    ZEALANDIA lesson plans series

    Nature of science

    Conservation efforts are improved when we understand how living organisms interact and how to effectively target pest species.

    Activity ideas

    In the activity Making a tracking tunnel, students monitor the presence of pest species in a neighbouring gully or their school grounds.

    Careful observation is an important part of science, as outlined in the activity Observation: learning to see.

    In the activity Mapping the future, students are encouraged to connect and create a sense of belonging by exploring changes that have taken place in their local environment in the last 50–100 years and to plan for the next 50 years.

    Related Hub's PLD

    In the recorded online PD session Teachers using the Hub – Bird conservation and literacy, teacher Kim MacPherson talks about the Science Learning Hub’s resources and how she used a literacy approach to engage and explore science issues with year 7 and 8 students.

    Useful links

    ZEALANDIA has many other educational resources. For advice or assistance in implementing this programme please contact the ZEALANDIA Education team, Go to Zealandia's Education Programmes Activites & Resources page and select Can we make New Zealand pest-free?, to see all downloadable resources on one page. If your school is in the Wellington region and you would like support to run this programme, access ZEALANDIA’s free Outreach programme by contacting

    Find out more about local and global conservation efforts by WWF.

    If you want to get involved at an individual or community level, check out Predator Free New Zealand Trust.

    Read about DOC’s work with Predator Free 2050.

    Find out more about the impact of hedgehogs on our native fauna in this article from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.


    ZEALANDIA is the world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary. It has an extraordinary 500-year vision to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems as closely as possible to their pre-human state. For 50 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature as the world’s leading conservation organisation. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.

      Published 8 March 2017, Updated 9 January 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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