Our winners have been chosen!
A huge congratulations to the following five schools who have won $10,000 towards turning an unused outdoor area at their school into an interactive outdoor classroom for students to learn and immerse themselves in nature:
Aparima College, Southland
Coromandel Area School, Coromandel
Konini Primary School, Lower Hutt
Te Uku, Waikato
Due to the outstanding level of applications this year the judging panel chose five winning schools instead of the usual four.
The TREEmendous team look forward to working closely with the winning schools to help turn their vision of an outdoor classroom and a planting programme into a reality that works with the school’s environment and location.
Aparima College is a Southland School covering years 7-13, located at Riverton and Intermediate students submitted the application. Aparima College has a plan to revamp an area of their school grounds over the next few years. The funding from the TREEmendous team will help implement the first phase of this plan. The school has already removed some very large macrocarpas and are looking to plant natives to provide shelter and reduce the impact of wind and soil erosion. They have created a propagation area where they will raise seedlings to be planted next year. As well as planting lots of natives, the school will plant a heritage fruit orchard complete with rabbit proof fencing. They are also going to create an outdoor classroom. The area is part of the Te Araroa walking track, which will be enhanced by the plantings.
Coromandel Area School with pupils from primary right through to secondary wants to restore the natural spring on their school grounds to help aquatic animals such as inanga (whitebait) to thrive again. They will remove weeds, plant natives and create pathways enabling them to use the area as a natural learning space. The Coromandel Community is looking forward to helping make this dream a reality for the school which will benefit the whole community.
Hukerenui School north of Whangarei will create a bee friendly area. They have already established a maize area, lavender garden and orchard on the school grounds which are all looked after by the pupils. The TREEmendous grant will allow them to plant species which provide food for their bee hives and provide a habitat for the skinks they have found on the school grounds. They will also improve and expand on the existing maize area, lavender garden and orchard and create an area in their expansive grounds that will not only be fun, but a student led educational space.
Konini Primary School (Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt) has ambitious plans to transform their school field from bare grass to an engaging outdoor learning environment. The School has received support from the TREEmendous team to implement the first stage of their plan. CIE Nursery have generously agreed to provide the native plants required for the first years’ planting. The plan sees a pathway around the school field with learning areas where the students will be able to connect with nature, explore, observe and develop their understanding of biodiversity. The plantings will create habitat which will encourage birds, insects and lizards to the school.
Lastly, Te Uku School (Raglan, Waikato) would like to turn an underused area of their school grounds into a massive outdoor learning space which will be integrated into all pupil’s learning throughout the year. There will be a native area for children to learn about NZ native plants, birds, lizards, insects as well as opportunity to learn about disease, weed and pest control. Another area will be devoted to fruit trees as well as a herb and vegetable garden with the aim to produce food to share as well as learn about food production, seasonality, organic gardening, soil health and other aspects of permaculture and the life cycle of a garden.
The other finalists each received $500 towards their projects.
Thank you to all our winners, finalists, and the other teachers and students around New Zealand who worked so hard on their applications. It is inspiring to see so many teachers and students passionate about nurturing and caring for their local environments. It is great to know that our country’s beautiful ecosystems will be in safe hands with the next generation.
The TREEmendous team from the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson have transformed 44 schools from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South creating outdoor classrooms and amazing native gardens for teachers and students to reconnect with nature. They are looking forward to working with the recent winners to realise their dreams.
Click here to check out the amazing transformations that have taken place previously, and get some inspiration for your school and apply!