Little eyes monitoring the garden

Janie Stevenson from NZ Landcare Trust and Willow Kelly, a student from St Thomas More Catholic School, with the Sentinel garden.

St Thomas Moore Catholic School at Mount Maunganui has become the first school in New Zealand to receive a sentinel garden.

The science/biosecurity awareness project requires students to monitor a garden with plants that attract exactly the kinds of pests and diseases we want to keep out of the Bay Of Plenty.

The children will check their myrtle plant doesn’t have myrtle rust and their vegetable plant isn’t infested with brown marmorated stink bug, for example.

The students will design the monitoring schedule themselves, checking daily for changes.

If the surveillance project is a success, it will be introduced to another four schools in the Tauranga area early next year.

St Thomas More Catholic School took possession of the garden – similar to a modified kiwifruit packing box – last week, but their work began in earnest this week, when they received a visit from a couple of specialists.