Back to Te Māra a Tāne.
This year saw a strengthening of the relationship between Trees for Survival and the Thames Coromandel District Council, with TCDC’s Derek Thompson describing it as the ‘best planting season ever’. TCDC contracted Howard Saunders from Smart Environmental to work with Beccy Dove (Enviroschools Facilitator) to co-ordinate four planting days on reserve land around Thames.
The first of these, on Arbor Day, involved four Thames schools planting 500 plants in the local Totara Park Cemetery. All the plants had been raised from seedlings by Thames South and St Francis Schools.
Sixty students from Te Puru School worked hard to plant about 500 of their plants at the Te Puru river mouth. They were planting on very rocky and hard, compacted stop banks, but the Smart Environmental team bought in a load of topsoil to add to the holes which parents, teachers and the Smart Enviro team helped the students dig; then a working bee filled them with good topsoil. The teachers and students were delighted that this new reserve development, adjacent to their school, will enhance their immediate environment. They have asked that they can be involved in any weeding that happens, thus remaining kaitiaki (guardians) of the trees.
Te Puru, along with Thames South and St Francis also supplied the trees and student power for a community planting of another 500 trees outside the Transfer Station in Thames. The children
enjoy returning to this old landfill site each year and watching the progress their forest is making. Moanataiari, a local Enviroschool that isn’t part of the TfS programme, also joined the planting, and are involved in a partnership with council for the on-going maintenance of the site.
As tradition will have it, all the planting sessions were followed by some hearty sharing of kai, featuring sausage sizzles run the Lions Club or hot chips provided by the local chippie. Derek always appeared at the start with a large box of mandarins and juice while Howard’s input was invaluable – great organisation, a talent at choosing fair weather days, great practical help with the students, and the ability to tell a good story at the start thus really engaging students.
Thames South students also began a separate project this year, planting a newly-fenced wetland area with around 350 plants specifically grown for this purpose. The area is being developed by Lyn and Alan Skilling on their Alpaca farm near Hikutaia. Lyn, who is a teacher aide at the school, plans to develop this area with students in future years.
So all in all a really successful planting season was had, with over 1800 trees in the ground and around 180 students from the Thames area learning, connecting and taking action to improve their local environment.
Back to Te Māra a Tāne.