Waitara chil­dren take back waste­land

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CHRIS­TINE WALSH

Armed with a great at­ti­tude - and a few spades, Waitara’s young ecow­ar­riors went on a mis­sion to help take back an over­run waste­land.

St Joseph’s School kids joined forces with vol­un­teers and de­scended on the Waitara com­mu­nity or­chard sit­u­ated across the rail­way line at the end of Nel­son Street. They en­gaged in hands-on plant­ing of fruit trees and helped clear the grounds and nearby wa­ter­way of other peo­ples trash.

‘‘This was an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to see the big­ger ef­fects of pol­lu­tion. It doesn’t end in the play­ground or class­room,’’ teacher Melissa Lane said.

SJS strives to en­cour­age stu­dents to con­sider pack­ag­ing choices and where their rub­bish goes and for them the day was a real eye opener, Lane said.

The or­chard de­vel­op­ment serves as a tan­gi­ble en­vi­ron­men­tal project for the stu­dents to learn about the his­tory of the patch of land and how they can sup­port its clean up and re­gen­er­a­tion. ‘‘This is a di­rect link to our sci­ence cur­ricu­lum as part of the liv­ing world.’’

Driv­ing the project is Trevor Do­dun­ski, who was over­whelmed at the chil­dren’s ef­forts.

‘‘I cried with emo­tion. To me our chil­dren are so pre­cious and they were so ex­cited. It was such an awe­some day.’’

It was that same pas­sion and his dis­taste at the waste that prompted Do­dun­ski to take ac­tion. The Waitara Com­mu­nity board mem­ber saw the po­ten­tial in the ne­glected land and was sick of it be­ing used as a dump­ing ground for old couches, dish­wash­ers, mat­tresses and other house­hold rub­bish.

As well as be­ing an eye­sore, it was an en­vi­ron­men­tal haz­ard be­cause with the rub­bish came rats and mice.

Do­dun­ski got to the point where ‘‘enough was enough’’, en­list­ing the help of a dig­ger and dig­ger driver to help clear the over­grown weeds, scrub and rub­bish. ‘‘A truck and a half of rub­bish was picked up. It was an ab­so­lute dis­grace,’’ he said.

That was more than a year ago and since then peo­ple from through­out the com­mu­nity have vol­un­teered help on the ground as well as dona­tions.

Now there is a space ded­i­cated to peach trees called Peaches Grove, av­o­cado trees have gone in for a shel­ter belt, along with a va­ri­ety of fruit trees. With a clean as you go phi­los­o­phy the or­chard will con­tinue to take shape.

SUP­PLIED

St Joseph’s Pri­mary School chil­dren are ecow­ar­riors in the mak­ing as they sur­vey the pile of rub­bish they picked up in at the or­chard in one day.

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