Southbridge School

With a vision to encourage students to become kaitiakitanga (guardians) of their natural surroundings, Southbridge School in Canterbury has planted a rongoā (medicinal) Māori garden. A holistic practice that embraces the medicinal properties of New Zealand native plants, the outdoor learning space challenges students to think of ways to encourage native insects and birds to return to the local area.

Ruud “The Bugman” Kleinpaste and Dr Riley Elliott, Shark Scientist recently visited the school to talk to students and teachers about the importance of sustainability and how they can help to look after the environment.

Kleinpaste also spent a second day at the school, spending time with individual classes to practise the iNaturalist initiative and identify biodiversity within the expansive school grounds.

Southbridge School spokesperson Simon Dakers says TREEmendous has had a significant positive impact on the school and its local community.

“TREEmendous has brilliantly supported a local focus on bringing more biodiversity and bird life into our community. We have a lot of excited and engaged students actively seeking nature connections and enquiring into a range of topics based on their newfound knowledge.

“We are hearing many accounts of students going home wanting to find out more about the environment – this sets them up beautifully to be lifelong learners who understand their role as kaitiaki – guardians of the sky, the sea and the land.”