Planters win top NZ awards

St Mary’s School and the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust recognised for work.

St Mary’s School and the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust recognised for work.

PLANT AWARDS: Pupils of St Mary’s School and the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust have received top awards from the New Zealand Native Plant Conservation Network. From left, Kauri Forno (of enviroschools and the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust) and student Jonny O’Dey hold their special award — a picture of New Zealand mistletoe — with teacher Miranda McCormack and student Pippa Rogers. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

PUPILS of St Mary’s School and the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust have had their contributions to plant conservation recognised with top awards from the New Zealand Native Plant Conservation Network.

St Mary’s School’s envirogroup won most outstanding contribution to plant conservation, while Women’s Native Tree Project Trust won the award for best nursery in New Zealand, having donated 2500 native plants this year to schools, marae and community spaces.

Kauri Forno is involved with both the trust and St Mary’s envirogroup through the Enviroschools programme.

“The children’s project involved working with the whole school on the vision. They wanted trees to attract birds and insects, and to have an outdoor classroom and a slide through the whole area.

“We are so proud of this recognition. They were up against lots of other entries from around New Zealand. They have seen the trees grow from little seedlings. Some pupils have even gone on to Campion College and come back to see how the trees are doing,” she said.

The envirogroup has been working since 2012 on the vision for how they want their school to look.

The students wanted more native trees down by where Taruheru River passes their school, and an outdoor classroom in the middle under the shade of a pohutukawa.

Environmental learning

They wanted a path through it and a waharoa (entrance way), and for it to be an area for nature, recreation, and for learning about the environment.

“Our vision for this space is to turn it into a native forest with a path through it so people can come and enjoy our project,” said the initial proposal.

“Our goal is to attract native wildlife so we can learn more about them. We would like it to be open to everyone, not just the schoolchildren.”

The students had to present the idea to the board of trustees, meet with Gisborne District Council to check boundaries for where they were planting, and involve the entire school.

They had their first planting day in 2012 with trees donated by the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust and bamboo stakes from the Department of Conservation.

Every class came out and planted at least one plant, and even ex-St Mary’s school students at Campion College came to help plant too.

Since then they have planted more than 650 native trees and every class helps with weeding and mulching.

They have planted riparian species, trees for rongoa (healing), and would like to add some endangered plants once the area is more established.

“They have seen a very weedy neglected area transformed into an area with lovely native planting,” says Ms Forno.

Student Pippa Rogers says it has been a fun project and she likes working as a group.

“We have a buddy system, where the older kids pass on knowledge to the younger ones.”

Teacher Miranda McCormack says the kids have a long-term vision about how they want it to look.

It is fitting the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust also won an award, she says.

“Without their support projects like these just would not happen.”

PUPILS of St Mary’s School and the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust have had their contributions to plant conservation recognised with top awards from the New Zealand Native Plant Conservation Network.

St Mary’s School’s envirogroup won most outstanding contribution to plant conservation, while Women’s Native Tree Project Trust won the award for best nursery in New Zealand, having donated 2500 native plants this year to schools, marae and community spaces.

Kauri Forno is involved with both the trust and St Mary’s envirogroup through the Enviroschools programme.

“The children’s project involved working with the whole school on the vision. They wanted trees to attract birds and insects, and to have an outdoor classroom and a slide through the whole area.

“We are so proud of this recognition. They were up against lots of other entries from around New Zealand. They have seen the trees grow from little seedlings. Some pupils have even gone on to Campion College and come back to see how the trees are doing,” she said.

The envirogroup has been working since 2012 on the vision for how they want their school to look.

The students wanted more native trees down by where Taruheru River passes their school, and an outdoor classroom in the middle under the shade of a pohutukawa.

Environmental learning

They wanted a path through it and a waharoa (entrance way), and for it to be an area for nature, recreation, and for learning about the environment.

“Our vision for this space is to turn it into a native forest with a path through it so people can come and enjoy our project,” said the initial proposal.

“Our goal is to attract native wildlife so we can learn more about them. We would like it to be open to everyone, not just the schoolchildren.”

The students had to present the idea to the board of trustees, meet with Gisborne District Council to check boundaries for where they were planting, and involve the entire school.

They had their first planting day in 2012 with trees donated by the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust and bamboo stakes from the Department of Conservation.

Every class came out and planted at least one plant, and even ex-St Mary’s school students at Campion College came to help plant too.

Since then they have planted more than 650 native trees and every class helps with weeding and mulching.

They have planted riparian species, trees for rongoa (healing), and would like to add some endangered plants once the area is more established.

“They have seen a very weedy neglected area transformed into an area with lovely native planting,” says Ms Forno.

Student Pippa Rogers says it has been a fun project and she likes working as a group.

“We have a buddy system, where the older kids pass on knowledge to the younger ones.”

Teacher Miranda McCormack says the kids have a long-term vision about how they want it to look.

It is fitting the Women’s Native Tree Project Trust also won an award, she says.

“Without their support projects like these just would not happen.”

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