Cromwell Primary School creates blooming education space for students

More than 150 people from the Cromwell community were out in force on Saturday  29 March to help out with Cromwell Primary School’s Treemendous School Makeover. The Treemendous School Makeover programme is a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson and sees four schools selected each year to receive a $10,000 area makeover using New Zealand native plants.

Students, teachers, members of Cromwell community, staff from Macaulay Mazda, Mazda New Zealand, and the Project Crimson team including Devon McLean, Caroline Wallace and special guest ‘The Bugman’, Ruud Kleinpaste, transformed an unused area of Cromwell Primary School’s field into an educational and interactive space for the students to explore.

The makeover included constructing an amphitheatre styled outdoor classroom and stage for students to attend lessons and 350 native bushes were planted, along with a special feature kowhai grove, providing food for bellbirds and tuis.

“The new outdoor classroom surrounded by the native flora and fauna will be a great learning environment for the students. We are especially excited that we have laid the foundations for the development of a waharoa (entranceway) which will complete the makeover area." says Wendy Brooks, Principal at Cromwell Primary School. “We had a great turn out and so much fantastic support from our local community including all those who kindly donated supplies and their valuable time to this project.”

Central Otago Mayor Tony Lepper and Local Councillor Clair Higginson both put on their gumboots and attended the event showing their support for the local community. Ruud Kleinpaste also brought along his six-legged friends and showed them to the students educating them on all the bugs you can find in your back yard.

"This Treemendous School Makeover has been great for community morale and everyone involved has devoted a lot of time to create this outdoor learning space for the students. It’s good to see schools utilising their outdoor areas and taking care of the environment,” says Tony Lepper, Mayor of Central Otago.

Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation, says, “Mazda is proud to be part of Treemendous School Makeovers. It is great to see how eager the students are about learning in these enjoyable, interactive spaces.”

Cromwell Primary School is the first school to receive a Treemendous School Makeover this year. Other New Zealand primary schools who were successful and will receive a Makeover are Wainui Primary School, Silverdale in May, Naenae Primary School, Lower Hutt in June, and finishing with Pegasus Bay School, Waikuku in September.

Cromwell Primary School and Project Crimson would like to acknowledge the local business that also supported this Treemendous Makeover; Fulton Hogan, Cromwell New World, McNulty’s Transport, Cromwell Placemakers, Irrigation Services, Delta, Envirobark and Otago Polytechnic (The Horticulture Department).