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Pupils Passion for Environment Brings Rewards

27thth September 2013

Pupils Passion for Environment Brings Rewards

Four winning schools have been selected to receive a Treemendous School Makeover in 2014 – a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson Trust.

Wainui School (Silverdale), Naenae Schools (Wellington), Pegasus Bay School (Canterbury), and Cromwell Primary School (Central Otago) 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.

“Every year the calibre of the entries gets higher and higher and the pupils demonstrate that they are really passionate about their environment which is very encouraging for future generations,” says Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation.

“Since 2004, 23 schools all around New Zealand have benefitted from a Treemendous transformation and we take great pride in being part of the Treemendous School Makeover programme. We are looking forward to visiting another four schools next year and will post the dates for the Makeovers on the Treemendous School Makeover website early next year.”

Pegasus Bay Primary School in Canterbury, due to open in term two in 2014 have the opportunity to start with a blank canvas and develop an exciting outdoor education area for the pupils, many of whom will be moving to the new town with their families from earthquake impacted areas of Christchurch.

The developed area will feature veggie beds that will be able to be used by the local community and provide an opportunity for pupils to learn from experienced gardeners. The makeover will create some rough and tumble areas for the children to play along with habitat for local birds and an alpine garden and a lizard garden. The school sign and gate from the old Waikuku School (closing in early 2014) will be incorporated in the pathways and gardens of the new school.

Roger Hornblow, Principal of Pegasus Bay School says “This is a fantastic opportunity for our new school to make a real statement and create an outdoor environment for our pupils that is both educational and fun. Many of the pupils who will be joining us at Pegasus Bay have had a disruptive couple of years and we want to create a welcoming and enjoyable environment.”
Further south at Cromwell Primary School there are plans to construct a Waharoa at one of the entrances to the school along with a stage. An outdoor classroom will be created using gabion baskets to create an amphitheatre, and they will also plant a number of native trees to act as a food source for Bell birds and Tuis.

Naenae School will build a timber structure similar to a Samoan fale that reflects the multi-cultural identity of the school. It will provide an area for outdoor concerts, as well as being used as an outdoor classroom, and be surrounded by connecting pathways lined with native and shrub planting.

Elizabeth Ferguson, Deputy Principal of Naenae Primary School says “This is a great opportunity to enhance the outdoor education aspects of the school that will further encourage our already environmentally minded pupils while at the same time strengthening links with the local community.”

At Wainui School they will convert a muddy and underutilised slope that will provide links to the existing outdoor classroom, playground and chicken area. The developed area will include extensive native planting along with a koru shaped path, seating fitted with drawers for the storage of games and the repairing of an old slide.

The Treemendous Team will carry out these makeovers in 2014 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 27.

Bridget Abernethy, Trustee 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.

“It is fantastic to see that this year’s winners include schools that have applied in previous years. This shows a real determination and commitment to create a great outdoor education area and is to be applauded.”

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.

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