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Thursday 3 February 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Environment, National


Volunteers celebrate World Wetlands Day
Muri Environment Care volunteers gather on Wednesday to explore the wetland. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/22020209

A group dedicated to preserving the Muri Lagoon and surrounding area has taken advantage of World Wetlands Day to push forward with one of its multiple projects.

Muri Environment Care celebrated on Wednesday by incorporating youth into a project at a seasonal wetland behind Pa Ariki Palace at Ngatangiia.

The group of volunteers have set about establishing a nursery on the site and spent the day documenting dragonflies and other insects under microscopes.

They also collected samples of plants in a combined effort to better understand local eco-systems.

The group was accompanied by a youth media team, also staffed by volunteers, who covered the day’s events with photographs, videos and interviews to help record the activities.

Muri Environment Care volunteer Anne Tierney said the project is one of many built by dozens of volunteers who have common environmental concerns.

A key concern is changes in land use, and the effect of consequential water flows on top soils, says Tierney.

She said getting youth involved was about inspiring them to discover science.

“We are looking at engaging future generations,” Tierney said.

Nursery advisor Brennan Panzarella gives volunteers a briefing on wetland eco-systems. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/22020208

The group has also been engaging youth in riparian planting in the Muri area, as part of bigger picture concerns for the state of the lagoon’s health.

Volunteers will descend on Muri in the coming fortnight to undertake an audit of plantings along the banks of the Aremango stream.

Tierney said they intend to take measurements of the plants to monitor their health and growth.

Nursery advisor Brennan Panzarella said Wednesday’s exercise was about making connections between living things, specifically plants and insects.

Having a youth media team on site added to the “buzz”, he said.

“We introduced ideas of how scientists take samples and describe eco-systems using survey systems.”

Muri Environment Care is a community group with a mission statement to preserve and protect the beautiful Muri Lagoon.

The group identifies needed intervention, researches recommended action, applies for funds and arranges for community participation to protect and restore the lagoon – one of the major tourist attractions in Rarotonga.