Students helping their environment
The fire circle is an ancient tradition for many cultures around the world.
It’s a place to return to after a day of hunting and gathering, a time to come together and share stories from the day and to learn from each other.
In a circle, everyone is equal.
This was the intention behind the recent project to build a natural seating area among the trees on the back field of Kai Iwi School, thanks to a community grant from Horizons Regional Council.
Although instead of a fire, students will be gathered around a grove of ko¯ whai trees and watching and listening to the sound of tu¯ ı¯ and other native birds.
Kai Iwi School is one of nine Whanganui enviroschools, and one of the school’s most recent initiatives was to plant up their bike track with native trees and shrubs.
Planting trees has many benefits for the environment, including increasing the food source for the birds and bees.
Kai Iwi School is on the flight path for the kereru¯ going to and from Bushy Park.
Students and community members will also benefit from the plantings, as the trees will provide shelter and shade from the elements as they use the bike track area.
As a school that backs on to the Kai Iwi stream, students are learning the importance of protecting waterways and how what they do at school affects water quality downstream.
The students built natural timber seats to use while they watch and listen to the birds.
Teachers are looking forward to using the space to give students a place to learn about the environment.
Students Joe and Mack Belton built the seats (with a little help from their dad, James). Timber was bought from local company MacBlack which specialises in sustainable timber s. The seating area is comfortable, durable and 100 per cent natural.
Horizons community grants programme funded the cost of the planting and seats, and Horizons staff advised on which plants would be appropriate for the area.
Looking after the plants is now vital to ensure success. One student, Mitchell, has already taken matters into his own hands and has begun fencing off areas of the planting.
Being an enviroschool means Kai Iwi is helping to create the next generation of citizens who naturally think and act sustainably.
One of enviroschools five guiding principles is “sustainable communities” and this idea has been present with this project.
Enviroschools are supported by Whanganui District Council and Horizons Regional Council.
■ Schools interested in finding out more about the programme can contact Ron Fisher at email@example.com
Students enjoy a rest on their brand new benches — Mitchell, Oliver, Bronson, Joe and Mack.