Gar­den project ready

Pupils build their own back­yard

Hastings Leader - - Front Page - BY BRENDA VOWDEN

A two-year project to en­hance the bio­di­ver­sity of Taikura Ru­dolf Steiner’s back­yard has come to fruition with the bless­ing of the fin­ished project at a cer­e­mony re­cently.

As part of the Back­yard Bio­di­ver­sity Pro­gramme, Class 10 be­gan the project in Novem­ber 2016, and af­ter lots of plan­ning, dig­ging, plant­ing, weed­ing and build­ing, they have suc­cess­fully cre­ated a taonga for the school com­mu­nity to en­joy for years to come, says teacher Ju­dith Grell­man.

“They have most def­i­nitely fur­ther en­hanced the school’s bio­di­ver­sity, as a won­der­ful habi­tat full of na­tive plants is now grow­ing where two years ago there was only a tree that was in dan­ger of fall­ing down. This year the class has added a rus­tic fence to com­plete the project.”

Ruud Klein­paste, aka ‘The Bug man’ at­tended the bless­ing cer­e­mony. His last visit was dur­ing the plan­ning stage two years ago.

“It was won­der­ful to be able to show him the site two years on,” Ju­dith says.

Class 10 stu­dent Wil­low Zuider­wijk wel­comed ev­ery­body and then pro­vided an over­view of the project. She thanked those who had helped along the way. The class then said a bless­ing and two wa­iata were sung. Ruud Klein­plaste then spoke about the stu­dents’ work be­fore hav­ing a shared morn­ing tea.

The Back­yard Bio­di­ver­sity pro­gramme was or­gan­ised and fa­cil­i­tated by Robyn McCool and Me­gan McBride from DOC. As part of this pro­gramme the stu­dents learnt about con­ser­va­tion is­sues fac­ing Aotearoa and about the bio­di­ver­sity in their own back­yard — the school. A trip to Cape Sanc­tu­ary in­spired the gar­den project.

“Back at school the class set about cre­at­ing a goal to in­crease the bio­di­ver­sity in their own back­yard. Af­ter quite a lot of bril­liant ideas the class de­cided that a wa­ter fea­ture would add to the school’s bio­di­ver­sity and they then cre­ated a vi­sion state­ment around this idea,” Ju­dith said.

A site was cho­sen where the class cre­ated a wa­ter fea­ture, dou­bling as a habi­tat for or­gan­isms to live in­de­pen­dently and ex­pand on their own, which in­creased the bio­di­ver­sity in the school.

“It just hap­pened that we had a tree in Scan­nell’s gar­den that was in dan­ger of fall­ing down and about to be re­moved.”

The tree was cut off and a pile of dirt put over to cre­ate a mound. Three stu­dents built a so­lar panel and found a do­nated pump which al­lowed the wa­ter to be cy­cled around — the wa­ter fea­ture and the project would also be en­ergy ef­fi­cient. The stu­dents then dug a “very big trench” so that the project would have a tap close to it.

Plants do­nated by DOC, where seeds would later be re­turned, and geo­tex­tile fab­ric and pond liner do­nated by the re­gional coun­cil com­pleted the next stage of the project.

“Fish& Game gave valu­able ad­vice dur­ing the plan­ning phase and full sup­port on the day that we built the wa­ter fea­ture. Plant Hawke’s Bay gave won­der­ful ad­vice on the types of grasses we could use around the wa­ter fea­ture and kindly do­nated some of these plants.”

Ju­dith says the project would not have been suc­cess­ful with­out the many in­di­vid­u­als who do­nated ma­te­ri­als and valu­able time to help with the project.

“All of these peo­ple were in­vited to at­tend the bless­ing cer­e­mony so that we could ac­knowl­edge their help and they could see the progress that has been made.”


Taikura Ru­dolf Steiner Class 10 stu­dents Wil­low Zuider­wijk (left), and Za­hara Ali (right) with guest of hon­our Ruud Klein­paste plant a Ka¯ ka¯ beak tree dur­ing the bless­ing of the bio­di­ver­sity gar­den at Taikura Ru­dolf Steiner.

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