Tane’s Ark an environmental winner
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.
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.