Most children dream of going out to chase frogs and catch butterflies, but students from Ranui Primary School have turned their curiosity into action.
The Tui 3 students from the school have been regenerating their school garden, with the help of the Natural Environment Targeted Rate (NETR), and support from Auckland Council staff.
It all started with a question from teacher Whaia Laura: “How healthy is our area?” Students at the school started on a journey that saw them learn how to assess Te Taiao – the environment around them – and what action they could take.
The school invited park ranger Glenn Browne and Frazer Dale, senior conservation advisor from Sustainable Schools, to help students better understand the local environment.
Replanting for birds and us
The students walked around the school garden, only to find the area next to the classroom was overgrown with pest plants, including Woolly Nightshade, Tradescantia, Chinese privet, German ivy and Montbretia. "It’s a weed forest”, said one student.
The little Te Taiao helpers cut off the Woolly Nightshade seed pods and placed them into rubbish bags using the pest plant tool kit from the Sustainable Schools tool library, which is funded by the targeted rate.
The students then planned to replant the area in winter with fruit trees or native trees – the fruit trees for themselves and the native trees to feed birds. They also learned more about the native plants in the school grounds.
Waitākere Ward Councillor Shane Henderson says: “We love to see our kids taking part in conservation efforts and we’re very happy to support their curiosity. It’s a great way to nurture kaitiakitanga (guardianship) among our younger generations."
“To be honest, the child version of me is a bit envious of these kids because my generation didn’t have this level of support when we were young. But the adult version of me feels truly proud as we can connect our kids to the land and see them flourishing.”
Te Kawerau ā Maki are also helping the students learn how to care for a kauri tree in the area that was cleared.
This regeneration project is ongoing as the students learn more and think about future gardening plans.
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