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New life to empty space

New life to empty space

Ditching maths to plant trees equals happy school children. Rooms 7, 8 and 9 at Moanataiari School planted 300 plants yesterday morning, beautifying the old land-fill behind the dump.

Whaea Maria, Room 7 teacher, said "It's an awesome experience for the kids to be able to give back to the environment. Many of the children have planted before, and showed great enthusiasm in the planting process."

All plants are natives and have been grown locally. Howard Saunders from Smart Environmental Limited is an ace at sourcing native plants for a great price, including some grown in the Trees for Survival programme. Howard is no stranger to planting trees; he remembers planting with fellow school student Peter Blake when he was five.

"Every planting day I watch the kids and wonder is the next Peter Blake amongst them?" says Howard. "I want the planting days to be a success, so the children can continue to come back and look at the planting and see the difference they are making. The coolest thing is the kids get an understanding that they can make a difference."

Community involvement is a large component of Howard's role. Smart Environmental pays for Howard's time to be part of planting days like this, and he is keen for them to be seen as more than just a rubbish collection service.

This is the sixth planting this season and with one more to go it has been one of the most successful planting seasons to date.

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