A joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson Trust will see four schools receive a $10,000 Treemendous School Makeover in 2016. Each of the winning schools - Argyll East, Wyndham Primary, Discover School and St Joseph’s School - will receive "an environmentally focused outdoor education space for students to learn and explore" along with a native tree-planting working bee.
Joris de Bres, chairman of the Project Crimson Trust, say it’s "nice to see schools around the country embracing the importance of conservation and outdoor education".
Andrew Clearwater, chairman of the Mazda Foundation, describes all entries as being of exceptional standard. "All of the entries we received this year were of high calibre, and showcased the creativity and enthusiasm for the environment in schools around the country".
Mark Thompson, principal of Hawke’s Bay school Argyll East, says they are "over the moon" to receive a makeover. The school will continue to restore the banks of the Mangaotai Stream running alongside it. New pathways will be added, leading to a specially designed eel platform and "weta hotels" will encourage more insects to the garden.
Southland’s Wyndham Primary will cover an unused area into a native garden, bush plot and an outdoor classroom. The space will encourage wildlife to the area with hopes the trees will shelter and entice native birds. Fruit trees will also be planted to teach students the importance of growing their own food.
Principal Kim Scott says: "Our students are enthusiastic about the environment and sustainability, and can’t wait to see all the native birds the garden will attract. It’s going to be great to see their creative ideas turn into reality."
Discovery School in Whitby plans to build an outdoor classroom along with the creation of a lizard habitat and the expansion of their existing orchard. A bird-watching bench will also be built for students to learn about different bird species.
St Joseph’s in Temuka will be planting large amounts of native trees, and will also build a tree hut so children can play among native plants. Large boulders will also be used to form an outdoor classroom.