Students at Flaxmere’s Kimi Ora Community School mucked in and planted 500 native trees today, which will help to both restore their environment and beautify part of the school’s grounds.
Kimi Ora School is one of seven groups across New Zealand set to increase their conservation efforts, as winners of native trees from national conservation organisation, Trees That Count.
Trees That Count has gifted native trees to the groups, who each represent one of the seven stars of Matariki, to help regenerate their local environment. “In June, we celebrated Matariki by running a competition for community groups, schools or non-profits to win native trees. We were overwhelmed by the number, and calibre, of entries we received and selecting our seven winners was an incredibly challenging process. It’s certainly highlighted that there’s a real need from grass roots conservation groups to be able to access more native trees to plant,” says Trees That Count Project Director, Tanya Hart.
Kimi Ora Community School is a decile 1a school that borders the local marae and community gardens. As a school with a strong cultural identity, it will benefit from having native trees to beautify their newly built kura. These trees have been planted along a section of the school, currently bordered by housing with broken fences.
“Fostering a love of the environment from a young age has been proven to help children learn sensitivity, appreciation and respect for the environment. It combats “nature deficit disorder”, and it’s fun! Kimi Ora School was an incredibly worthy winner of trees and we can’t wait to see how these will transform their environment,” Trees That Count Project Director, Tanya Hart said.
School Principal Matt O’Dowda says the school is currently undergoing a major rebuild, which will see entirely new teaching and administration blocks as well as the opening up of the school grounds.
“Being able to improve our outdoor area and create a place where children can explore and learn about the natural environment and ecosystem will be invaluable to their education. We’re so grateful for the support from Trees That Count to help us beautify an area of the school with trees, and the kids has a great time planting them!”