Rhode Street School

Rhode Street School in Hamilton is embarking on a student-led environmental project to create a medicinal Māori garden.

Rhode Street School in Hamilton is embarking on a student-led environmental project to create a medicinal Māori garden.

Known as rongoā, the medicinal garden is part of the school’s Ki te Rongo Mauri Ora Mara project which will help support student’s environmental education and provide health benefits for school whanau and the wider community.

Rhode Street School Principal Shane Ngatāi says the recent visit from Kleinpaste and Dr Elliott inspired students and teachers alike to delve deeper into the living world and the impact of climate change on flora and fauna in Aotearoa.

“The generous donation of 200 native seedlings from the TREEmendous Education Programme has greatly accelerated our school-wide commitment to improving our teaching of ecological sustainability by incorporating mātauranga Māori kaupapa (traditional Māori knowledge) alongside the NZ Science Curriculum,” says Ngatāi.

“The seedlings we planted focus on the native species that support a rongoā (medicinal) Māori garden planted on our ecological island for future generations to use as their teaching medicinal library and resource centre.”

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.

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.”

Strath Taieri School

The critically endangered Giant Otago Skink is both Strath Taieri School’s mascot and school symbol which is why they are passionate about protecting it and developing a safe, natural habitat for them.

With a vision to save the critically endangered Giant Otago Skink, Strath Taieri School is embarking on a student-led project to restore the local skink habitat.

Ruud “The Bugman” Kleinpaste and Dr Riley Elliott, Shark Scientist visited the school to talk to students and teachers about why these elusive creatures are a key part of our ecosystem and the importance of protecting them.

Ruud and Riley also joined the students and local community at the habitat to spot some skinks and to assist with the restoration project. Strath Taieri School Principal, Jim McArthur, says the project has been the catalyst for some much-needed community connection.

“TREEmendous has already had a huge impact on our school and community and when people not involved or connected with the school talk to me about the work we are doing, TREEmendous is often the first topic of conversation.

“Seeing the big group of parents walking with us up to the skink habitat made me feel like we had done something very cool.”

Riverdale School

Riverdale School is hoping to increase biodiversity in the area by starting a range of new projects including creating insect hotels to protect weta from predators.

Riverdale School in Palmerston North is undertaking a range of conservation projects to improve biodiversity and help to protect native insects and birds in the school’s local area.

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

Riverdale School’s Science Lead Teacher, Janine McIntyre, says providing an outdoor learning space is important for children to explore and make connections to the natural world.

“We want to inspire our students to learn more about their natural environment. A key focus of these projects is to increase the biodiversity in our local area and to help protect native insects and birds from predators.”

Whanganui Intermediate

Whanganui Intermediate School is dedicated to making learning a real and relatable experience for its students.

Whanganui Intermediate is expanding its existing forest school programme and hopes to inspire younger generations to incorporate knowledge of the natural environment in their everyday life.

With the overall theme that Nature is Everywhere, Whanganui Intermediate is embarking on a journey to extend its “forest school” programme. This will be achieved by starting an ongoing BioBlitz where all organisms found will be identified and reported on through iNaturalist – an online platform. This reporting will include assigning each organism to their “role” in nature, known as “ecosystem services”.

Ruud Kleinpaste – the Bugman and Dr Riley Elliott, Shark Scientist visited Whanganui Intermediate to talk to students and teachers about the importance of sustainability how they can help to look after the environment and its living organisms.

Dani Lebo, Whanganui Intermediate Forest School teacher says “The learnings from this Forest School project can be used as a template to enhance the school ground’s environment through native planting. We are passionate about expanding our existing forest school programme, which takes students off-site to explore the local bush area and embrace the outdoors. We hope to inspire the younger generation to incorporate knowledge of the natural environment in everyday life.”

Waitara East School

Providing a hands-on learning approach about the natural environment is something that Waitara East School values for its students.

Taranaki based bilingual primary school, Waitara East, has embarked on a sustainability journey with the TREEmendous Education Programme and ways they can help look after the environment by restoring our Biodiversity.

The school will be developing a programme to increase their student’s nature-literacy by learning about inter-connected ecosystems – learning how animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and slime-moulds can all live in harmony.

Denise Tutaki, Waitara East School Junior Syndicate leader says “We are beyond thrilled to have the support of the Mazda Foundation. We can’t speak enough about the excitement for our tamariki to have Ruud and Riley in our school, and the messages they gave to our tamariki are invaluable.

Our kura has Te Atiawatanga at the forefront of all our curriculum and inquiry planning. Sustainable practises are essential to our very being. We see our tamariki as being ngā kaitiaki mō āpōpō – they are the future caretakers of our planet. Their care and concern for our whenua, awa and moana is innate, and the children are passionate about reducing their impact on our environment.

Karetu School

Situated on a bush block, students at Karetu School can explore the local natural environment.

Karetu School in Northland, have a passion for exploring their local, natural environment. Together with TREEmendous Education Programme they are developing a programme to connect students with the biodiversity they share the area with

This scientific project will enable students to record and log all of the organisms that can be found on their school grounds.  iNaturalist will be one of the major, on-line tools that they can use to discover and identify the plants, trees, fungi, mosses lichens, birds, invertebrates, skulls, bones, droppings, tracks, spiders, and all other life-forms they encounter.

Kenneth Timperley, Karetu School’s Principal, said “I had heard about what Riley does through the media and television but didn’t know much at all. To walk into his session and notice how quiet the kids were, to see how they were hanging off his every word, was amazing. When I stepped into Ruud’s session, I was instantly at ease because once again the children had been “captured” by a man who was passionate, spoke to the kids in their language, and just knew how to impart awesome knowledge through humour.

The children that attend Karetu School are from families that are passionate about the ocean and the bush. The visit from Ruud and Riley has lifted the children out of their winter “blues” and has injected a level of excitement to get out and explore every tree, every piece of bark, and to create mayhem for their teachers!”

Wainui Beach School

Gisborne based primary Wainui Beach School is looking to make the most of its Rongoa garden – an area of native trees on the school’s grounds.

With a commitment to environmental education, Wainui Beach School in Gisborne provides its students with knowledge and tools to help develop their understanding of how the outdoors can influence plants and animals, specifically the Little Blue Penguin.

Ruud Kleinpaste – the Bugman and Dr Riley Elliott – Shark Scientist visited the school to talk to students and teachers about how they can learn from nature and the important role that living organisms play in our ecosystem and their impact on our environment. 

Wainui Beach School was the first ever TREEmendous recipient in 2008, planting many different species of native trees for an outdoor classroom. The school is continuing to further their environmental goals this year with the programme by developing, The Penguin Project – Little Blues, an initiative first started in 2018 when Wainui Beach residents discovered Little Blue Penguins nesting under their houses.

The Penguin Project aims to further the students understanding around how they share the environment with other species. The goal is also to increase their knowledge on how the Little Blue Penguin is suited to its habitat and their response to environmental changes.

Riverina School

With a passion for environmental education, Riverina School in Pakuranga provides its students with knowledge…

With a passion for environmental education, Riverina School in Pakuranga provides its students with knowledge and tools to help develop their understanding of the natural ecosystem. The school encourages students to connect to the wider community and understand the role every individual plays in building an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Ruud Kleinpaste – the Bugman and Dr Riley Elliott, Shark Scientist visited Riverina School to inspire students and show them how we can all learn from nature and the important role that bugs and sharks play in our ecosystem and how they all impact our environment.

Principal, Carol Dickinson and her enthusiastic teachers are looking forward to further developing their outdoor learning space for students to learn in nature following Ruud’s session with the teaching staff.  Their environmental project will see an area of their school grounds transformed into a vibrant learning space where fruit and vegetables will be grown and native trees planted.