Chewing Cards with Students

5th September 2018

What happens when a group of university students spend a weekend at Tirohanga Camp – the site of A Rocha’s restoration project in Dunedin? Read more:

[Photo: James Allaway]

A Rocha Dunedin volunteer, Esther Dale, introduced the students from University of Otago’s Christian Fellowship to the science of chew cards. Corflute from old real estate signs, cut up, the corners laced liberally with peanut butter, then nailed to trees at regularly spaced intervals through the camp and surrounding bush. Curious animals chew the fluted cards in quest of the peanut butter and as each species leaves distinctive teeth marks it’s possible to determine their types and presence. The following morning, keen students headed out to gather the chew cards and to see what secrets they revealed. This is an activity that any community at any bush site, camp or school could do! Fun and fascinating to any curious participant, done well, this simple citizen science exercise can also provide important information for possible pest eradication projects.

Back in the bush with spades, potting mix and planter bags, searching for seedlings and gathering locally sourced trees, students supported A Rocha’s ongoing revegetation work on the property.

A Rocha Dunedin coordinator Selwyn Yeoman said: “It was heartening to receive the invitation for input from a group not specifically focussed on creation care. Jen Allaway gave a powerful reflection to the students on the themes of creation and hope from the Bible and it was great to see the interested and enthusiastic students get dirty and put what they’d heard into action.”

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