Aparima College in Riverton has given a previously unused area of its school grounds a new purpose by planting hundreds of native trees and shrubs.
Aparima College was one of five schools selected to win a $10,000 grant towards creating an outdoor learning space in 2019 thanks to TREEmendous, a joint initiative between Project Crimson and the Mazda Foundation.
Teachers, students, the wider Riverton community as well as Mazda Foundation Trustees and the Project Crimson team all participated in a working bee on Saturday that saw more than 450 natives planted.
The area that received the TREEmendous treatment was previously a sandy piece of land that borders the school and the neighbouring estuary. The transformation included planting a heritage fruit orchard and modern cultivars and installing bird-tables, insect holes and wildflowers in order to attract bees and insects.
Cameron Davis, Principal at Aparima College, says the school is always looking for ways to take advantage of its unique coastal location and the passion both the students and the wider community have for sustainability.
“We have developed a long-term plan to make better use of the wonderful natural resources at our door and being lucky enough to win this TREEmendous event gave us the kickstart we needed,” he says.
On Friday, ahead of the TREEmendous Event, Mazda Ambassadors marine scientist Riley ‘The Sharkman’ Elliott and Ruud ‘The Bugman’ Kleinpaste visited the school.
Elliott spoke to the students about the importance of taking care of our natural environment and educated the students about the importance of sharks in our ecosystem while Ruud introduced his insect friends and spoke to both teachers and students about the importance of bugs in our environment.
Kleinpaste says it was great to see the Riverton community turn up and lend a hand to help Aparima College transform its outdoor area.
“It’s great to see small communities like Riverton making a real effort towards a more sustainable eco-friendly lifestyle.
“I’m confident that this new outdoor learning area will inspire both current students and generations to come,” he says.
After planting all morning on Saturday, the community was treated to a BBQ lunch thanks to Riverton Butchery who donated more than 120 celebratory sausages and SuperValue Riverton who donated other goodies for the hungry workers.
Aparima College was the last of five schools visited by the TREEmendous team this year. This event marks the 49th school to get the TREEmendous treatment in the last 12 years!
For more information and to see some of the past transformations visit http://treemendous.org.nz/