Taranaki Environmental Educator Inspires Next Generation of Stewards

Dedicated environmental educator in Taranaki, New Zealand, inspires the next generation to protect the region's precious ecosystems through the collaborative Te Ara Taiao program.

Mazhar Abbas
Updated On
New Update
Taranaki Environmental Educator Inspires Next Generation of Stewards

Taranaki Environmental Educator Inspires Next Generation of Stewards

Dave Dannefaerd, a dedicated environmental educator in Taranaki, New Zealand, has been working tirelessly to restore the region's waterways and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. Through the Te Ara Taiao education program, Dannefaerd and his team have been teaching school children about the environment and culture around them, focusing on the Taranaki Maunga landscape.

The Te Ara Taiao program originated when kaumatua from the Ngā Mahanga a Tairi hapū created an education initiative to help tamariki (children) understand the cultural and environmental significance of the Taranaki Maunga and surrounding areas. The program includes hands-on activities such as water testing, plant propagation, and learning about the local ecosystem and biodiversity.

In recent years, the program has scaled up its work with the support of the Department of Conservation (DOC). The boost in funding from DOC's Jobs for Nature program has allowed Te Ara Taiao to expand, with five educators now working with different hapū and iwi to share their environmental knowledge with primary school students.

"Our goal is to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards," said Dannefaerd. "We want these children to grow up with a deep understanding and appreciation for the natural world around them, so they can become future DOC rangers, environmental policy writers, and lawyers who will continue to protect and restore our precious ecosystems."

The program's collaborative approach, working closely with local hapū and iwi, has been key to its success. By facilitating intergenerational knowledge sharing and behaviour change towards the environment, Te Ara Taiao is making a lasting impact on the Taranaki region and its people.

As Taranaki's waterways continue to face challenges, the work of environmental educators like Dave Dannefaerd and programs like Te Ara Taiao will be crucial in ensuring a sustainable future for the region's natural resources and the communities that depend on them.

Key Takeaways

  • Dave Dannefaerd, an environmental educator in Taranaki, NZ, works to restore waterways.
  • Te Ara Taiao program teaches children about Taranaki Maunga's cultural and environmental significance.
  • Program expanded with DOC funding, now has 5 educators working with local hapū and iwi.
  • Goal is to inspire next generation of environmental stewards, future DOC rangers, and policymakers.
  • A collaborative approach with local communities is key to program's success and lasting impact.