Partnership in Action

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Against a magical backdrop of the richly-forested Hunua Ranges, parents and children of Owairoa School recently planted beside a stream at Brent & Karen Pasley’s property.

The forest, which is an important water catchment area for Auckland, gave the pupils an immediate connection to the fact that TfS eco source seeds for South Auckland sites there and then the seedlings are propagated by horticultural students.

On a very successful planting day, the children and parents planted some 750 of their seedlings (kanuka, manuka, coprosma, flax, cabbage tree and sedges) along both sides of a section of a stream that the landowners had fenced off from cattle and sheep. The remaining 50 or 60 seedlings were to be used as infill planting on last year’s site.

  A real Partnership in Action – from left rear, B Pasley. landowner; S Crawshay TfS Planting Day Coordinator Auckland Council; R Macapagal TetraPak (support organisation) and young growers and planters of the TfS programme. TfS Teacher Claire Hargraves and TfSField Officer Dianne Patterson also attended the planting day, along with two student teachers from Alabama, and about eight keen parents!

Tetra Pak Oceania, a long-standing TfS corporate supporter and sponsor of six schools including Owairoa, was represented by Roy Macapagal, from the marketing team. After the event, Roy said he was happy to get his hands dirty for such a good cause. “It’s very inspiring to see the kids’ enthusiasm and interest in what they’re doing,” he said. “TfS is a great environmental and educational programme that shows how we can really make a difference to our environment when businesses, schools, communities and councils all work together.”

Owairoa Year 6 students Lydia Voisey and Ben Buckley prepared a report on the planting day in which they noted that Tetra Pak’s Roy Macapagal was “one of the adults chosen for their hole-digging skills”.

  Children stopped off to view last year’s planting site.  They are holding up one finger, indicating that the area behind them was planted one year ago. Thinking about why the seedlings were not showing much growth yet, they correctly concluded that all the growing was happening underground, establishing a root system. 

The students’ report went on, “We loved the day because it was plenty of fun and we learnt a lot about how and why we plant trees – to stop or slow down erosion, to increase the amount of oxygen in the air, to help the native wildlife, to improve the water quality and it is good for bees from the next field over. The bees also make Manuka Honey which is a delicious New Zealand product to have on toast.”

  The landowner decided to plant more closely this year to get improved coverage, more quickly. There were beehives nearby, and the children realised that these insects would benefit from feeding on the blossoms of the manuka trees they were planting.

Owairoa TfS Teacher Claire Hargraves knows about integrating learning and uses the TfS programme to advance other subjects, including some experiential maths, report writing and simple observation.

Measuring: As part of his class work on measuring, Taigo (Y3) helped the class measured all the trees for planting day, sorting out which were 30cm tall, or taller, and could be collected.

Counting: Lakshmi (Y2) heard that there were 800 trees for collection by Brent the landowner and, coming for a closer look, she is lost in a forest of trees.

Loading: Working in pairs how many trips will you have to make to load 40 crates into the landowner’s truck?

Observing: Sam (Y4), who was working on pricking out and potting on, asked what type of trees we had. She then tried to identify the trees by using the ‘kind kanuka’, ‘mean manuka’ method.

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