New learning was found in climate change, ozone depleting substances, how pearls are made, what wetlands provide, how to weave rubbish, and Rutaki School’s project - planting in banana pseudostems.
Event coordinator June Hosking says the biggest area of new learning for students was found in things organic, discovering that organic refers to all things natural, not just a method of gardening, and that organic matter is critical to providing nutrients to the earth.
She says many students hadn’t realised that worms can create rich soil and an excellent fertiliser. Composting also had an impact, with one student noting, “I had better get composting ASAP!” and another writing that they learned, “how important nature is to the earth and how organic waste has a lot of impact on the earth”, another “how much we humans take nature for granted!”
Following on from what they learned, Hosking says many of the students are trying to recycle, put rubbish in the right bins and reduce the use of plastic.
Quite a few also said that now, after learning about how bad rubbish is for the lagoon, they are going to try not to litter.
“I believe it is our lack of awareness, our ignorance, our rushing to have things without taking time to discover the consequences, which has put us into the mess we’re in today,” Hosking says. So when reading a note from one student simply saying, “Be more aware,” Hosking says she is very much encouraged.
“If students and adults have learned just one new thing at Lagoon Day, and carry that through into actions then all the hard work, that indeed is still going on, has been worth it.”
Students and visitors also had the opportunity to voice their opinion on the three different zoning options being considered for Marae Moana.
Option one is the original proposal for the southern waters to be a marine park. Option two is the proposal from Te Aronga Mana which includes every island of the Cook Islands having a 50 nautical mile “locals-only fishing zone” followed by a 50 nautical mile “no fishing zone,” giving a 100 nautical mile zone around every island.
Option three is what the government is suggesting, which is half of that, a 50 nautical mile locals-only zone around each island. Almost all secondary students who handed in sheets noted their order of choices.
The most popular choice was option two with 93 votes, whilst option three gained just 49 votes. Interestingly, option one, which was the original plan explained to the students at Lagoon Day 2012, is the least-preferred option.
Hosking says considering the learning students gain at Lagoon Day and in school, and considering that they are our future leaders, it is worth taking note of what they consider to be best for their future.
At the Ministry of Marine Resource booth students were asked which marine and stream site they thought was worst and why. This entailed them having to interpret graphs showing trends over the years of water quality monitoring.
Most students concluded that the worst water quality was to be found between the Avana and Totokoitu.
The last section of the Lagoon Day activity sheet asked students one new thing they learned at Lagoon Day this year.
Sadly, Hosking says the realisation that they have been swimming in dirty water was news to one student.
The impact of nutrients and rubbish upon the lagoon was new learning for a few students and for others the fact that old cooking oil is used for fuel in Pacific Resort’s truck was an eye-opener.