A call to moth pod crusaders

Students in Howick Ward schools enjoy becoming moth pod enthusiasts. Photo supplied.

It is time, once again, for moth pod crusaders to turn their attention to the fields and vegetation in the local communities.

For the fourth year running, Pest Free Howick Ward (PFHW) is hosting the popular moth pod competition, where all students in the Howick Ward are eligible to collect moth pods and win prizes.

Students, individually or in teams, register and then venture into the community to collect moth pods from vines.

Described as “pretty but deadly”, moth plants are an invasive pest plant which grow and smother native vegetation.

Each pod has 250-1000 parachute-like seeds which can burst and spread. They can nestle themselves in canopies and cause them to collapse.

Students are given kits that have tools to remove the plants and protective gloves, eyewear and herbicide gel to apply to the vines.

“The sap is a skin irritant so you need to wear old clothes, long longs, protect your hands and eyes,” Lorelle Stranaghan, co-ordinator of PFHW, says.

There are four categories: preschool, primary, intermediate and secondary. First prize is $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $150, thickest vine is $100 and most small vines pulled by the roots is $100. There are also spot prizes and special mystery prizes for teachers and students.

Registrations close on April 9. Students can start collecting from the day they register.

The public can report sightings of moth plant locations for teams to visit at https://forms.gle/9BkPAw6vsGkUMUkv7.

To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/18i2w7zz