Planting day with Te Puke High School
More than 600 native trees and shrubs were planted by Te Puke High School students in the kahikatea areas of Te Pourepo o Kaituna wetland last week (August 4, 2022), as part of an annual collaborative event between the school, Maketū Ōngātoro Wetland Society (MOWS), Bay Conservation Alliance and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
The planting day is part of an education programme, which is in its third year, and is a win-win for everyone involved. It enables mahi on the wetland as part of this ongoing restoration project, while also providing an opportunity to help educate students about the environment in their own backyard and earn NCEA credits in the process.
More than 15 Year 12 students distributed the native species in teams of four around an allocated area, learning more about these species – such as kahikatea, manuka, titoki and harakeke – in the process. A quick walking morning tea break also provided an opportunity to see tuna and learn about these important taonga.
Michael Tyler, Land Management Officer for Bay of Plenty Regional Council, says the planting days always prove popular as the students can see their hard work in action.
“It seems to really speak to them – I think because they can plant it, see it and watch the trees and shrubs grow over time. They love learning about the wetlands and it’s always a bit of fun”.
Awhina Awhimate from MOWS echoes Michael’s sentiment, saying she loves working on this collaborative project and seeing the joy it brings to the students.
“The students really enjoy it. It’s great having them come back because they have a visual project that they can see into the future. They get a lot of pride out of seeing their work.”
There are several field days planned for August, which will see about 2100 native species planted, as well as three wetland and soil-focused educational activities held. Seven more schools with at least 350 students are expected to follow in Te Puke High School’s footsteps at these field days.