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Urban Eel Update

It’s well into 2019 now, and Urban Eel is kicking off again for two new schools! Welcome to Our Lady of Assumption, Steiner and Selwyn House schools- we look forward to meeting you over the next couple of weeks, and working with you throughout the year! The journey you’re about to go on will be interesting, exciting, and inspirational!

We hope you’ll take inspiration from our two schools from last year- Burnside Primary School and Isleworth School.

We met Isleworth School at the Summer in the Styx event last year. Over the year, they developed a love of Tuna, and a deep understanding of their biology, and the issues that affect them. The students took initiative, and alongside the guidance of their teacher, Viola, they became eel experts! They participated in a planting at the Styx, have built a Tuna Townhouse, which is going to go in a stream shortly (keep your eyes out!),made eel artwork, and have shared their learning both at school through their Green Gala,as well as the Summer at the Styx event. They went through an epic learning cycle, and it was very special to have a student who left Isleworth last year return to help out at the stall and share her learning. Very inspirational!

Isleworth School students sharing their learning at the Green Gala in 2018

Burnside Primary School also had a fantastic year of learning. Next to their school, Cobham Intermediate has the Wairarapa stream flowing through- their own eel habitat to look after! The students, and teachers Bianca and Brenton helped to organize a planting day, where they invited Cobham Intermediate students to participate. It was a very special day, with the two schools working together to set the foundations for a native forest alongside their stream. I watched young people who had only just move to New Zealand planting their first tree, and young people who had planted trees around the city previously share their planting knowledge. What a special day!

Hardworking Burnside Primary and Cobham Intermediate students at their planting day

We loved working alongside both schools, and hope to continue to build our relationship this year!

We’ve also confirmed an art project along River Road this year- in a collaboration with the Greening the Rubble group and artist Richard Baker (Pops) we’re going to produce Tuna sculptures at a Riverbend Refuge site- a site that connects the ecology of the Avon River to human health and wellbeing. All schools participating in the program will help to paint an eel sculpture, with Richard’s guidance, and the sculptures installed and unveiled at the end of the year.

We look forward to seeing what ideas are shared, actions are undertaken, and art created this year!

Thank you to the CCC and the Rata Foundation for funding this project.

-Bridget, Project Coordinator

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