Children’s Therapy Garden

A new generation of bug hunters is being built through combining education outside the classroom with good old-fashioned gardening.

KVH has been working with Your Garden: Children’s Therapy Garden (a Tauranga organisation that provides primary school children with horticultural learning experiences to reduce anxiety and promote wellbeing) to integrate sentinel garden biosecurity ideas into their programme.

Two groups of students from local primary schools are currently going through the programme, where they spend a morning a week at the garden site choosing what to plant in their plots and taking them through to harvest. The excess harvest is taken by the children and coordinators to charity for distribution.

During KVH’s most recent visit, Karyn Lowry talked with students about Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). The students were really interested to hear about this pest, and others that they can keep an eye out for in their garden.

Sentinel gardens are a Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital initiative managed by KVH and consist of a variety of host plants that might provide early warning of invasive insect species and pathogens. Mainly based in schools, students monitor gardens for any signs of the pests and diseases that we want to keep out of the Bay of Plenty. So, not only are the gardens hands-on and fun, but they’re also a great way to build biosecurity awareness and surveillance skills amongst the younger generation. Read more about them here.