Kiwi kids learn virtually everything about NZ
11/11/2009

In October 2,000 primary, intermediate, and secondary school students from around the country participated in a virtual field-trip to the North Island’s east coast to learn about New Zealand’s native Christmas tree, the pōhutukawa.

The four-day LEARNZ-run Project Crimson field trip will teach students about biodiversity, coastal ecosystems and habitats, land use, resource management and plant biology.

The virtual field-trip will also reveal how pōhutukawa and rātā are in danger of becoming extinct.

“Pōhutukawa has become a very popular symbol of New Zealand summers and Christmases,” says Bridget Abernethy, Executive Director of Project Crimson.

“Twenty years ago pohutukawa were threatend in New Zealand, but a conscious decision has been made to embrace our natural environment and protect our unique coastline.”

“The LEARNZ field trip is a wonderful opportunity for school children to learn about the ecological, cultural and historical significance of one of New Zealand’s most popular native trees. At the same it will help to raise awareness around the plight of pōhutukawa and rātā and the work of the Trust.

Students get to visit a local nursery, find out how settlement and increased development have impacted on the trees, and learn how important pōhutukawa are to Maori. They will get to explore areas where pōhutukawa has been planted and discover how to successfully regenerate areas through propagation and planting.

Kay Eade, Meridian’s Sponsorship Co-ordinator says Meridian is delighted so many students have had the chance to see how the vastly different renewable generation schemes operate through Meridian’s partnership with LEARNZ.

“These field trips have given students an up-close and personal insight into renewable energy generation over the past two years,” she says. “Thousands of students have been fascinated by how water and wind can be turned into electricity and the process that gets it into their home. We are sure they will be just as excited about the Project Crimson field trip.

“There is something uniquely kiwi about a full blooming tree, and as a company with a commitment to renewable energy and environmental sustainability, we are extremely proud to support and encourage Project Crimson.”