Eighteen years of service to the programme

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Saint Kentigern College has Plant Growing Unit #3, taking it back to the earliest years of the Trees for Survival programme set up by the Rotary Club of Pakuranga in 1990-91. Richard Fullerton, who has been involved for over 18 years, left at the end of 2014 and Trees for Survival acknowledges his dedication to the programme.

John Guthrie of the Rotary Club of Pakuranga & Saint Kentigern College Teacher Richard Fullerton with native seedlings ready for planting day (June, 2014)

At a review with Head of College Mr. Steve Cole in June 2014, all Partners expressed their confidence in the programme. “Mr. Fullerton teaches the students valuable horticultural skills from eco-sourcing and propagating native seeds, to raising the seedlings for planting day. The six metre unit consistently produces a high number of healthy, well cared-for seedlings and their survival rate is very high.

“Each year about 15-20 Year 10 Horticulture students are involved in the stages of pricking out, potting on and planting out on the land. The students learn about environmental issues and conservation through their involvement in this hands-on programme. They then understand that they can make an effective and positive impact on the land and waterways they plant on.” (from Dianne Patterson’s Review, June 2014)

Kate Loman-Smith, former Auckland Council Trees for Survival Field Officer, says, “Richard’s experience and passion as a plant person is evident in the quantity and quality of the trees the College produces for planting days. Richard has always been determined that his students have a fun and fulfilling experience on planting day and it was a pleasure working with him.”

Kowhai seedlings

Under Richard Fullerton’s guidance, students have raised from 1,100 to 1,800 seedlings annually and planted out 600 to 1,000 on each site; sometimes leaving more for the landowners to add to their planting efforts. Richard has ensured that extra plants were given to the Trees for Survival pool used to top up other school’s trees for plantings. Natives such as Manuka, Kanuka, Flax, Cabbage tree, Coprosma /Karamu and Mahoe form the majority of the species, and they have also raised Kahikatea, Totara and Kowhai.

Richard did not restrict growing areas to the plant growing unit but expanded into a shade and hot house. Under his careful watch everything was well kept in an orderly and tidy manner.

Seedlings pricked out in Root Trainers

Recent sites planted were the Rose property on Trig Road, Whitford; the Richardson property, Kawakawa Bay (2011); De Koning’s site on Redoubt Road, Manukau (2012) and the Bell property on Clevedon Road at Ardmore (2013).

Trees for Survival acknowledges with grateful thanks Richard’s wonderful work in setting and maintaining high standards in his role as the Trees for Survival teacher. He has willingly passed on his knowledge and passion for horticulture not only to students, but also to Field Officers. We wish him the very best with his future plans.

Dianne Patterson
Trees for Survival Field Officer Auckland South

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Hot house overflow