Tamariki from three schools across Kāpiti took the future of our environment into their own hands by getting them dirty at Greater Wellington’s tree planting event in Queen Elizabeth Park (QEP) as part of the regional council’s winter planting programme.
Over a hundred students from Te Rā Waldorf School, Raumati South School, and Paekākāriki School planted 1,000 native species on the bank of Whareroa Stream. Their efforts put a significant dent in Greater Wellington’s mission to plant 400,000 trees across the region this winter.
The day kicked-off with a warm welcome from Greater Wellington Environment Chair, and Kāpiti coast local, Councillor Penny Gaylor and QEP Rangers.
“Before the kids dug into work, we took some time to explain the reason behind why we do winter planting, and introduce tamariki to the range of pioneer species they were handling, including Manuka, Flax and Pittosporum.
“The new trees aren’t there to just look pretty – though they certainly do that. Everyone in our community benefits from the work the kids did, both now and for generations of whānau to come. The trees will provide a home for birds and insects to thrive and absorb greenhouse gases from the air, helping lessen the impact of climate change.
“Specifically, the planting we did along the riverbed today will play a role in preventing soil erosion, and improving the health of the plants and animals living in and around the water,” says Cr Gaylor.
After a morning of putting in the hard yards, tamariki swapping their shovels for sausages and warm drinks.
Martin Hett, Principal at Raumati South School says that a day out planting fits with their school vision of using heart, hands and hands to grow courageous learners.
“We look for every opportunity for our tamariki to be learning through connecting with nature. This day was one of those opportunities that was beneficial for our students and local community,” he says.
Cr Gaylor reckons the secret behind the event’s success is the connections made between fledging environmentalists and Greater Wellington’s people.
“The kids brought energy and enthusiasm that buoyed our spirits, and our team brought the experience, knowledge and deep commitment to the environment that was infectious.
“If we keep giving our young people opportunities to learn about the environment and take climate action, we’re going to have a much greener future ahead of us. Ka pai and thank you so much to everyone who came along and took part.”
Many planting events in Greater Wellington’s winter planting programme rely on community volunteers, so people are encouraged to visit the regional council’s Facebook page for opportunities to get their hands dirty: facebook.com/GreaterWellington/events