Planting for 2014 well under way

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A selection of early season planting days

After planting day on 20 May at the Walker property, Waiau Pa, TfS Teacher Wendy Turner Wright of Waiau Pa Primary School commented, “The day went well and while dark clouds loomed at times, it stayed fine. The kids enjoyed the hard work and we had parent helpers as well as the property owners and volunteer Lynda Brewer and Auckland Council Planting Day Coordinators Rata and Sue. The kids stayed focused on the task at hand and really appreciated the refreshments later … three classes went at different times throughout the day.”

Two West Auckland planting days; on 29 May Huapai District School the children ranging, from 6-11 years, planted about 700 trees and then on 6 June it was Albany Primary School’s turn.Sue Crawshay, TfS Coordinator at Auckland Council added, “We planted about 700 plants on a tricky short steep slope. We had tree roots to deal with but mostly quite soft peaty soil … the children also had a great opportunity to see a very well looked after site with flourishing plants, 2 years on”.

A committed group from Huapai District School get on with the job

Students from Albany Primary battle with the long grass to get their holes dug

On 28 May Waiuku College students planted at the Hamilton’s property in Pollok farmland on the Awhitu Peninsula, some 2kms inland, east of the rugged West Coast. The area features patches of native bush, grazed paddocks, some ponds and a wetland. The Planting Day Coordinator, Rata Gordon, reported, “It was a great day, which started out frosty but warmed up … we planted with the Primary Industries class so it was a good relevant experience for them.” TfS teacher at Waiuku College, Jane Patterson, added that “nearly 800 hundred trees were planted”.

A great team from Mt Richmond ready for action

As part of the major sponsorship given by Accor Hotels to TfS, staff members from various members of the group give time at the coal face, helping various schools on the annual planting days. On 4 June, a perfect day for planting, Accor staff from Auckland Airport Hotels – Novotel Airport and Ibis Budget – joined Mt Richmond School students on their planting day at the Buttimore property in South Auckland.

Writing after the event Katherine Hills, Human Resources Manager, Auckland Airport Hotels said, “… the feedback from the team was that they all really enjoyed it and thought the kids were lovely.”

At Dilworth Rural Campus, on 8 June, as part of a wider community day, 9th grade boys, friends, caregivers, grandparents, parents and Dilworth staff pitched in with Field Officer Dianne and volunteer Chris Patterson to plant their first section of a planned native re-vegetation alongside the Mangatawhiri River.

Learning about pricking out seedlings into root trainers from the Year 9 TfS students

Finished planting with the carpet squares to inhibit weed growth

A total of 240 Coprosma, cabbage tree, flax,  sedge and manuka seedlings raised by the boys in 2013 and 2014 were efficiently  planted, fertilised and given carpet squares to inhibit weed growth. The diverse group of planters then filled Root Trainers with flax and manuka seedlings pricked out of punnets, the boys demonstrating the finer technicalities of the task.

TfS teacher Stephen Onyett hopes more seedlings will soon be large enough for a second planting day, later in the season. The whole team is to be congratulated on their successful start to the programme. It is cool to see boys like Israel, having loaded plants onto the truck and fetched wheelbarrow loads of fertiliser, taking I-movies to transfer the hands-on-learning into a recorded document.

And then the rains came – as Stephen Onyett writes: “Unfortunately mother nature hasn’t been kind to us. Last week, close to 100mm of rain fell, following the planting day. The rain caused the Mangatawhiri River to rise above the lower level plants. The river hasn’t been as high as that for at least 3 years. We think that possibly a 1/3 of the plants were unfortunately washed away.

“The river was so strong and high that all of the protective fences, upstream, downstream and around the planting zone were taken out or washed away, along with the carpet laid around the plants. Good news is that the majority of the plants are safe and sound, and we have helped replant the damaged plants.”

Summing up the flooding, Dianne Patterson said, “The community did such a good job of their planting that many plants survived being underwater in strong currents … it’s just as well we are planting to help hold the stream banks for the future!”

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