Volunteering in Tauranga

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Amanda Besley reports from Tauranga: Aquinas College, Tauranga, has an annual Service Day with all students participating in voluntary community work; and as TfS Field Officer, I hosted three Year 7 students – Scott, Callum, and Paul – as nursery assistants.

Until this year, Aquinas College has incorporated TfS into their junior science programme and participated in planting days. Withdrawing from TfS, due to some programme change, Aquinas has prepared their PGU for removal. Moving the plants (several hundred flax, cabbage trees and a few mahoe) for safe-keeping to Tauranga Girls College (sponsored by Taura Natural Ingredients) became their first task before morning tea back at the Envirohub in the Historic Village.

Paul demonstrating potting Cordyline australis from Naturally Native

Amanda with Scott (centre) and Callum (right)

After hot chocolates and a quick visit to the fluorescent rock display the boys tackled the task of uplifting a large clump of flax seedlings – spades, garden forks and team effort required! Snails, slugs, spiders and butterflies caught their curiosity, distracting the boys from teasing apart and potting up the flax. Callum in particular showed some great entomology knowledge. Forty healthy large flax plants were potted and Paul only caught me with the hose twice.

After a fleeting lunch and quick tyre swing our final task was a visit to TfS school Gate Pa where the boys demonstrated potting of cabbage tree seedlings to a group of young students. Scott’s quiet manner soon had the small ones getting underway.

Callum observing native snails in hibernation

Paul, Scott and Callum plus Gate Pa students

With 3.00pm approaching and (looking forward to a bit of a sit down) I delivered the boys back to Aquinas.  A pleasure to work with, their parting words were, “That was fun. Can we do it again next year?”

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