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Green Goals a Reality for Schools

Green Goals a Reality for Schools

Four winning schools have been selected to receive a Treemendous School Makeover in 2013 – a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson Trust.

Halfway Bush Primary School (Dunedin), Oakura School (New Plymouth), Porirua School (Porirua), and Whangamata Area School (Whangamata) will be visited in the New Year by the Treemendous team for a native tree planting working bee. Their designated outdoor areas will be transformed into renewed spaces for students and teachers to enjoy.

“We were blown away with the standard of entries this year, from schools right across the country. It was fantastic to see that both students and teachers are enthusiastic about environmental education and learning outdoors,” says Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation.

“We take great pride in being part of the Treemendous School Makeover programme which has been responsible for the development of 19 outdoor transformations since 2004. We are looking forward to visiting another four schools with the Treemendous team next year.”

Halfway Bush Primary School in Dunedin plans to develop an active learning space, utilising the expansive school grounds available. The grass area will be turned into an interactive garden classroom that will replicate the school logo. It will feature edible plants, a reading zone, bird watching, and be decorated with plants of various colours and textures.

The new garden will be used by Halfway Bush Primary School students, as well as other community groups who visit the school. “Our school is absolutely thrilled to be receiving a Treemendous School Makeover,” says Winnie Cornelissen, Principal of Halfway Bush School.

“The project will involve our school and the wider community coming together to share in creating something truly special that we can all enjoy for years to come.”

Oakura School in New Plymouth has chosen to enhance an unutilised plot of hillside with native planting to attract native birds and other wildlife. The school hopes to use the space as an outdoor learning environment, focussing on teaching students about native species. The developed area will include a viewing platform, walking track, camp site, community orchard, insect homes, as well as other features to attract birds and insects.

Porirua School will be landscaping a portion of the school grounds which will be inspired by ‘Nga Taonga o Tane’ – the Treasures of Tane, guardian spirit of the forest. The school would like to design natural habitats for native species, such as a lizard lounge, a weta hotel, beehives, a butterfly garden and bird feeders. Observation decks, seats and pathways will be built so that students can safely view the wildlife.

The new outdoor area will also feature a Maori medicinal garden as well as a natural amphitheatre for environment learning sessions and community gatherings. Planting of a range of plant species will take place throughout the makeover area, with an emphasis on interactive varieties that are edible, textural, or colourful.

Whangamata Area School is hoping to create a garden that will reflect the local landscape, complete with plants, shrubs and trees that are found within the ecological district, as well as paving, walkways and seats. They would like to create their own eco source nursery with the plants they grow for local sand dune restoration.

The students and staff at Whangamata Area School are passionate about being actively involved in their natural environment. “We are very excited about being chosen for a garden makeover, especially as we are an Enviroschool and our students use the local landscape as part of their learning. The local beach, estuaries and coastal forests play a big part in our educational programmes,” says Ross Preece, Principal of Whangamata Area School.

The Treemendous Team will carry out these makeovers in 2013 together with help from the local school communities, parents and pupils.

These four winning schools take the total number of schools awarded Treemendous School Makeovers to 23.

Bridget Abernethy, Executive Director for Project Crimson, said the number of applications received this year showed New Zealand schools have a keen interest in the environment and outdoor education.

“We were delighted to see so many schools applying for Treemendous School Makeovers. The quality of the entries far exceeded our expectations and the judging panel was presented with a difficult task selecting four winners.

“We are very pleased with our chosen schools. All of them placed an emphasis on teaching students and the wider community about the environment and our eco system.”

All Primary and Intermediate Schools can apply. All finalists will receive $500 for their school and the winning four schools will receive a $10,000 Treemendous School Makeover. Entries will open again in the New Year.

Please visit: for more information.


About Project Crimson
Project Crimson is a charitable conservation Trust that aims to protect New Zealand's native Christmas trees - pohutukawa and rata. Since the Trust was formed in 1990, volunteers have successfully established hundreds of thousands of pohutukawa and rata trees around New Zealand.

About the Mazda Foundation
The Mazda Foundation was established by Mazda New Zealand in 2005 as a public charitable trust to give assistance to a broad cross-section of causes, including the improvement of our natural environment and the advancement of our young people’s education.

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