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The Waikato River Authority Project is an exciting collaboration between Trees for Survival and Waikato Regional Council.
Project funding from the Waikato River Authority allows for fifteen Waikato schools to establish their own TfS plant growing unit. PGUs have already been delivered to Pokuru, Whatawhata, Pirongia and Ngaruawahia Primary Schools with another 11 being delivered to participating schools within the month.
Forest Flora Nursery from Ngaruawahia is providing eco-sourced seedlings, the first of which will be delivered to schools early in August. It is hoped that these plants will be ready to go in the ground mid-2015.
The first of a series of three workshops was held on the 22nd May at Tamahere Community Nursery, for schools who had expressed interest in being part of the project. This was a practical workshop to support teachers with the skills they might need in growing native plants, as well as providing resources, information and an overview of the project and its funding.
The workshop was facilitated by Andrea Soanes, Waikato Regional Councils Schools Programme Coordinator, along with Jan Simmons, a community nursery member who also works for DOC. Enviroschool Facilitators, who will be supporting these schools on their journey, also attended.
The attending teachers, who were excited and positive about their involvement with the programme, participated fully in the hands on learning about pricking out seedlings and potting on. Many questions were asked and teacher feedback revealed that the workshop had contributed new skills and more confidence to work with their students, as well as a greater understanding of the project. The teachers left with Ti kouka (cabbage tree) seedlings to start their collections.
Another workshop, scheduled for October, will explore ways to engage children and integrate teaching and learning with the practical work of growing trees.
Meanwhile the partnership with Te Awa River Ride is strengthening. Existing TfS Waikato schools will be planting along the cycle way in August. Ngati Haua will also be involved with these planting days and will be sharing some of the early history of the area with the participants.
It is expected the development of Te Awa River Ride will enrich the community’s awareness of and connection to the Waikato River, as well as offering a means to explore parts not currently accessible. There is confidence the planting will not only help restore the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River but also reinforce the community’s connection to, and responsibility for, the river.
The partnership between Waikato Enviroschools and TfS is growing stronger. The project is being led by Andrea Soanes, Waikato Regional Coordinator for Enviroschools, and the Waikato Enviroschools team is supporting these new schools.
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