Tane’s Ark an en­vi­ron­men­tal win­ner

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HE­LEN MUR­DOCH

Ten years, hun­dreds of hours of work and more than 3000 trees are the hard-earned se­crets be­hind Ma­pua School’s suc­cess­ful na­tive reveg­e­ta­tion pro­gramme.

On Mon­day night teacher Si­mon Clear­wa­ter, who leads the school’s Tane’s Ark restora­tion project, was pre­sented with a Trust­power Com­mu­nity Award for en­vi­ron­ment and her­itage.

‘‘I en­tered be­cause I thought it was about time we had more recog­ni­tion for the hard work. Plus it is a way of giv­ing the kids feed­back that what they are do­ing is valu­able.’’

But he was quick to point out the project’s grow­ing suc­cess was not only due to the school’s ef­forts.

The reveg­e­ta­tion of part of Aranui Re­serve had huge sup­port from David Mitchell, of the Friends of Ma­pua Wet­land, which runs a restora­tion project on neigh­bour­ing land.

Clear­wa­ter said it was Mitchell, along with Tas­man District Coun­cil staff, who planned the plant­ings and or­gan­ised fund­ing, mulch and plants.

Lo­cally sourced seed and plants were used to en­sure the restora­tion would be a true re­flec­tion of the for­est which once cov­ered the land, he said.

‘‘This award is also about thank­ing David Mitchell for his con­tin­ued in­volve­ment.’’

The school’s year 7 and 8 pupils took turns to plant, weed and main­tain the grow­ing na­tive for­est each Fri­day af­ter­noon.

And they saw the project as their own, he said.

‘‘They might moan about maths but never about plant­ing, weed­ing and get­ting muddy.’’

Stu­dents spo­ken to said the project taught them about Ma­pua’s na­tive for­est his­tory, the im­por­tance of nat­u­ral bio­di­ver­sity and that restora­tion was achiev­able.

A re­cent open day saw pupils lead guided walks through the project and the school had named its class­rooms af­ter dif­fer­ent plants, which many younger pupils could now iden­tify in the restora­tion, he said.

Be­ing on the public re­serve helped forge a bond be­tween the school, the Friends of Ma­pua Wet­land, the coun­cil and the com­mu­nity, Clear­wa­ter said.

The project’s public walk­ways im­proved ac­cess to parts of the re­serve, how­ever many res­i­dents did not know of its ex­is­tence, he said.

The $500 prize money would be used to buy plants and mulch, he said.

PHOTO: HE­LEN MUR­DOCH/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Ma­pua School pupils Ella McCann, left rear, Marli Twin, Stella Gib­son, Oliver Chan­dler, Sarah Twin, Danielle Martin, Cody Ew­ers and Lucca Hem­ing­way cel­e­brate the Trust­power win.

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