Leithfield School’s Treemendous new outdoor area

09/05/2017

The largest Treemendous makeover of the year took place at Leithfield School on Saturday, with over 120 local community members attending a working bee to help develop an unused area into an outdoor learning space.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Treemendous School Makeover initiative, a joint action between Project Crimson Trust and the Mazda Foundation. To celebrate, five schools, instead of the usual four, were selected to receive a $10,000 makeover, and create an outdoor educational space through the planting of native trees.

Students, parents, teachers, community members, staff from Mazda New Zealand, Mazda Foundation and Blackwells Mazda together with the Project Crimson team pitched in to complete the makeover.

The makeover – which was five times the size of any of the other winning schools – included developing the banks and surrounding area of the school into the newly created outdoor learning space. Over 1200 natives were planted, along with garden beds, a community orchard, an outdoor classroom and a ‘trees of the world’ area.

School principal Sharon Marsh says developing the banks of the school will motivate the children to learn more about the environment.

“Providing an area where children can explore and learn about the natural environment and ecosystem will be invaluable to their education, and we’re proud to be able to offer such an important learning resource to our students.

“We’d like to give special recognition to all the parents, teachers, families and local community members who attended the makeover, and worked tirelessly in the lead up to the event,” she said.

Ruud Kleinpaste brought along his insect friends and spoke with the students, educating them about New Zealand native bugs and the importance of looking after the environment.

Hurunui District Mayor Winton Dalley attended the event, mucking in and showing his support for the community.  

“One of the best parts of my job is seeing our community rally together for a great cause,” he said. “The students at Leithfield School have done a spectacular job, and I can’t wait to see where their environmental education leads them in the future.”

Mazda Foundation Trustee, Andrew Clearwater says it was humbling to see such passion for the environment at Leithfield School.

“The Leithfield makeover was a huge undertaking, but the enthusiasm of the local community and especially the school’s students, made the day a tremendous success. It’s great to see students so excited about nature and outdoor education,” he says.

Leithfield School was the second school to receive a Treemendous School Makeover this year, after Alexandra Primary School in March. Next up is Nelson Central School in June, followed by Houghton Valley School in August. The final makeover for 2017 will be Reporoa School in September.