Supporting young people to give local streams a helping hand

Wellington waterways will now have more helping hands thanks to a grant to support young people to help look after them, Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage said today.

A project that supports students from around Wellington to learn about local streams and how to look after them received a boost of $270,000 over three years from the Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund.

“It’s a fantastic project that will provide opportunities for young people to get out into nature, learn about local streams in Wellington, and help improve stream health,” said Eugenie Sage.

“Streams and rivers are nature spaces in an urban environment. This funding is one way of backing the leadership that young people are showing in advocating for clean streams and healthy rivers.”

“Getting out into nature is the first step in what can be a lifelong appreciation of New Zealand’s streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands and their distinctive and often unique plants and wildlife. It can inspire efforts to give nature a helping hand through riparian planting, pest control and local rubbish clean-up projects.”

The funding will go to Mountains to Sea Wellington who are leading the Whitebait Connection Project in Wellington. It focuses on encouraging collaboration, connections, and empowering local people with the tools to care and advocate for our waterways.

“Mountains to Sea Wellington is bringing together schools, community organisations, mana whenua, educators, and local and central government agencies to share their passion and work.”

The project has already helped more than 1000 students from across Wellington by providing hands-on field trips where students test water quality, investigate biodiversity and assess the impact of human activities on waterways.

Hundreds of community members have also been down to their local stream through community events and opportunities such as night-time spot-lighting to discover secretive native freshwater fish species – many of which are under threat because of degraded rivers and stream habitats.

For more information about the Community Environment Fund visit http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/community-environment-fund