Waikouaiti School’s Treemendous new space

Over 100 members of the Waikouaiti community attended a working bee last Saturday at Waikouaiti School to help transform its outdoor area with a Treemendous School Makeover.

The Treemendous School Makeover programme is a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson, a conservation charity, and sees four schools selected each year to receive a $10,000 area makeover featuring native plants.

Students, teachers, Mazda New Zealand, Mazda Foundation, and the Project Crimson team, including special guest ‘The Bugman’ Ruud Kleinpaste, transformed the school’s grounds into an interactive learning space for students.

The school’s outdoor space will now boast flowers, fruit trees and herbs and the existing vegetable garden was replaced and expanded. A woodchip pathway runs through the garden leading to an outdoor classroom, a place where students can go to observe, think, draw, and immerse themselves in nature.
School principal, Trudy Pankhurst, said there has been a very dedicated and amazing team of parents and whanau working hard to get the makeover underway, and was overwhelmed with the support from the community on Saturday morning.

“We are so thankful to all the helping hands that turned up and those who have assisted us in the lead up to the very last working bee and celebration. The children and staff are excited to use the new outdoor classroom and can’t wait to harvest the crops from the vegetable garden and tunnel house. The day was a huge success and we couldn’t be happier with the results of the makeover. It’s going to be a great platform for the students to learn more about the environment,” she says.

Ruud Kleinpaste brought along his insect friends and interacted with the students, educating them about New Zealand native bugs and the importance of looking after the environment. Dunedin North MP David Clark attended, showing his support for the community.

“It was great to see everyone come together and get behind the makeover,” he said. “Seeing all the goodwill that takes place in our community is one of the most rewarding parts of my role, well done Waikouaiti.”

Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation, says, “Mazda is incredibly proud to be able to help educate children about the importance of looking after the environment through the Treemendous School Makeover initiative. It’s always extremely rewarding to see the students so enthusiastic about their new learning space,” he says.

Waikouaiti School was the third makeover this year after Horsham Downs Primary and Havelock North Intermediate. The last makeover for 2015 will be Renwick School in August.

Applications for the 2016 Treemendous Makeovers are now open, but get in quick, they close 5 August 2015. Application forms are available at http://www.mazdafoundation.org.nz/treemendous