What a Pest!

Ants in the kitchen, rats in the roof, Old Man’s Beard in the garden – at some point, everyone has been annoyed or pestered by pests.
This What a Pest! inquiry unit is designed to identify the EFFECTS that invasive pest plants and animals have on the natural biodiversity of Canterbury, Aotearoa-New Zealand and to investigate what can be done to combat them. An animal or plant is considered a pest when it is ”out of place”, causing damage or harm to, people, property, pets, agricultural production, native plants and animals, taonga species, or the environment. Deer is considered a pest species if it is roaming free in the bush, eating native plants & exposing roots but as a farmed animal they are an economic good. For some people a spider is fascinating and a good thing to have in the home where as others will hate them and want to be rid of them. People with life threatening allergic reactions to bee stings may feel scared and not want beehives near their home. Canada geese are regarded as pests by farmers but other people can ignore them as they are not a threat to native biodiversity.

Students - Discover what things are considered pest species in Aotearoa New Zealand ........ become a Pest Detective by tracking down clues as to where these invasive species originated and how pest problems can be solved in safe and effective ways.
Teachers - What a Pest! aims to engage you and your students with the environmental, social, and economic issues of pest management. The context will be the Canterbury Region. The programme will explore how the animal or plant pest came to be here, why it is considered a pest species and what steps can be taken to control it. Students will be immersed in the challenges that we all face in controlling invasive plants and animal species so that native biodiversity can survive and is enhanced. They will explore decision-making processes and suggest solutions based at the end of an inquiry learning cycle.

In this unit we will be exploring how organisms (both plant & animal), that have been introduced into New Zealand, have become pests.

Possums were brought to the country from Australia in 1837 as a basis for a fur industry but they soon got out of control as their numbers increased rapidly.

weepossum.jpgThe pesky possum has become our poster pest for this unit.


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