Rapaura School plants a Treemendous new garden

Over 100 students, teachers and members of the Blenheim school community were out in force over the weekend to dig in for Rapaura School’s Treemendous School Makeover and transform a wasteland into an outdoor garden and classroom.

The Treemendous School Makeover programme is a joint initiative by the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson and sees four schools selected each year to receive a garden makeover using New Zealand native plants.

“It was an excellent day for the school community,” says Helen Williams, Principal of Rapaura School.  “Our students spend a lot of time outdoors and now they will be able to enjoy a new space to explore.  It was fantastic seeing the students, parents and staff helping to plant trees and muck in for our school.”

Helen adds that it was great to see the wider community, including members of Project K and the Blenheim Rural Fire Brigade, donate their time and services to help complete the project. 

“It was so exciting to see the Rural Fire Brigade turn up to water all the new plants. It was such a treat for everyone involved, especially the students.”

Volunteers were joined by staff from Mazda New Zealand’s head office in Auckland, local Mazda dealership McKendry Mazda and the “Bugman” Ruud Kleinpaste who spent time explaining the different bugs that will soon be found in the new garden.

The outdoor classroom will also attract local native birds and, with the introduction of a variety of plants, contribute to the students’ garden art programme.

Andrew Clearwater, Chairman for the Mazda Foundation, says the day was a great success.

“The Tremendous programme is a great way to get the community involved with the local school,” says Andrew.  “Environmental education is growing in schools and it’s exciting for the Mazda Foundation to be able to play a role in this through this initiative.”

The new garden is just one of a number of environmental initiatives the school is undertaking. It recently registered with the Marlborough District Council to become an accredited Enviroschool in 2011.  The garden will also enable the school to contribute to the local ‘Tui to Town’ project in which the council is encouraging the creation of natural habitat to entice the Tui back to Blenheim.

Two other schools have received a Treemendous School Makeover this year.  They are Spotswood Primary School (Taranaki), Westshore School (Napier).  Next month the team will be at Epuni Primary School (Lower Hutt) for the final Treemendous School Makeover for 2011.