Lavender for Orangutans

December 02, 2020 at 2:57 PM

Who would ever have guessed that orangutans enjoy snuggling down at night to the gentle smell of lavender! Or that the root crop that has turned a bit woody in your garden is actually a welcomed delicacy for elephants?

This has all been part of the learning for our ‘Enviro Group’ this year.

Service is an important aspect of life at the College and is something all students are encouraged to take part in. Throughout the year, students take part in initiatives that involve giving back to the community. One of these ongoing projects is the vegetable patch, where students plant and harvest crops to give away to those in need.

Following the first lockdown, the students returned to school to discover that their harvest of radishes and kumara had been left too long, turning woody, and were no longer suitable for human consumption. They discovered that Auckland Zoo has over 1000 animals to feed each day, and not all of them are fussy about the ‘best-before’ date! The Zoo was more than happy to receive the woody crop for their elephants.

This led to further discussions about how the group could assist the zoo and the students learnt that scent enrichment adds an extra dimension to the sensory stimulation provided for animals – and that orangutans were partial to a little lavender in their nests at night!

And so the lavender beds in the College gardens were tended, carefully harvested and bundled by a group of Year 7 and senior IB (International Baccalaureate) students ready for grateful collection by Zoo staff.

The Enviro Group are pleased to know that this year, they’ve helped towards the elephant’s enormous appetite and the orangutans being tucked up for restful, sweet-smelling sleep!

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