Schools’ green ideas come to life
7/12/2015

Four winning schools have been selected to receive a $10,000 Treemendous School Makeover next year, a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson Trust.

Argyll East School (Hawke's Bay), Discovery School (Whitby), St Joseph’s School (Temuka), and Wyndham School (Southland), will be visited next year by the Treemendous team for a native tree planting working bee. The schools will each receive an environmentally focused outdoor education space for students to learn and explore.

“It’s always hard to choose just four finalists, and this year was no different as all of the entries were of exceptional standard,” says Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation.

“Students and teachers from around the country came up with new and creative ways to enhance their outdoor learning environments and it was really rewarding to see their appreciation and enthusiasm for the environment.”

Argyll East will continue to restore the banks of the Mangaotai Stream which runs alongside the school and plant more native trees. New pathways will lead to a specially designed eel platform and weta hotels which will encourage more insects to the garden. A display area to showcase the childrens’ art work, predator traps and picnic tables will also be included in the transformation.

“We are over the moon that our school has been chosen to receive a Treemendous School Makeover,” says Mark Thompson, Argyll East Principal.

“We’re excited to transform our outdoor area and develop the banks of the Mangaotai Stream, which will benefit the community as well as the school and students can immerse themselves in nature, during both class and playtime.”

Wyndham Primary will convert a large unused area into a native garden, bush plot and an outdoor classroom where children can learn about native flora and fauna. The space will encourage wildlife to the area, with the hope that the trees and shelter entice native birds. Fruit trees will be planted, teaching the students about the importance of growing their own food.

Principal, Kim Scott says the school has a group called the environment helpers who organise conservation and environment projects, and are extremely excited to get the makeover underway.
“Our students are really enthusiastic about the environment and sustainability and can’t wait to see all the native birds the garden will attract. It’s going to be great to see their creative ideas turn into reality.”

Discovery School will transform their school grounds by constructing an outdoor classroom, creating a lizard habitat and expanding on their existing orchard. Native trees will be planted, attracting birds to the school grounds and a bird watching bench will be built for the students to learn about different bird species.

St Joseph’s will refresh their outdoor area by planting large amounts of native trees to link with existing native plantings. Large boulders will be used to form an outdoor classroom, and a tree hut will be constructed so the children can play amongst the native plants.

The Treemendous team will carry out these makeovers in 2016 together with help from the school, local Mazda dealership staff, Mazda Foundation Trustees and Project Crimson.

Joris de Bres, Project Crimson Trust Chair, said it was nice to see schools around the country embracing the importance of conservation and outdoor education. “All of the entries we received this year were of high calibre, and really showcased the creativity and enthusiasm for the environment in schools around the country.

“31 schools have benefitted from Treemendous makeovers since the program’s inception in 2008 and we are excited to see what the next round of entries in 2016 bring,” says de Bres.

All Primary and Intermediate Schools can apply for a Treemendous School Makeover. Finalists will receive $500 for their school and the winning four schools will receive a $10,000 Treemendous School Makeover. Entries will open again in the first term of the New Year.