School garden an early warning tool for pests
St Mary’s Catholic School in Tauranga is the second school in New Zealand to receive a sentinel garden; a project launched through the Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital (TMBC) initiative.
As part of the garden launch last week, KVH’s Matt Dyck went to speak at the whole school assembly about the importance of biosecurity and the role the students can play with their own sentinel garden. The students and teachers were really interested to hear about Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) and other pests that they can keep an eye out for in their garden.
Sentinel gardens consist of a variety of host plants that might provide early warning of invasive insect species and pathogens. Students are required to monitor the garden daily 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, they are a great way to build biosecurity awareness and surveillance skills amongst the younger generation.
The TMBC team plan on launching more sentinel gardens in schools through the Bay of Plenty over the coming year.