Schools’ green visions in sight

14/09/2016

Students and teachers from around New Zealand have been hard at work sprouting environmental ideas in the hope of winning a $10,000 Treemendous School Makeover.

Nine schools have been announced as finalists in the stage one judging round as part of Treemendous School Makeovers for 2017, which is a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson.

From Kowhai groves and music walls to interactive native forests, schools have had no shortage of innovative ideas to enhance their outdoor learning areas. The judges were overwhelmed with the quality of applications, with many accompanied by impressive videos.

The nine finalists are: Alexandra Primary School (Otago), Crofton Downs Primary School (Wellington), Gordonton School (Waikato), Houghton Valley School (Wellington), Leithfield Primary School (Canterbury), Mahora School (Hastings), Nelson Central School (Nelson), Reporoa School (Bay of Plenty), and Roscommon School (Auckland).

These schools are in the running to receive $10,000 to convert an unused area at their school into an innovative outdoor education space for everyone to enjoy.

“We are so proud of every school that applied for a Treemendous School Makeover this round. It’s remarkable to see young minds coming up with such big environmental ideas!” says Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation.

“Student’s passion for the environment shone through this round and all of the school’s that entered are worthy of a new outdoor space. It made judging harder than ever and selecting the top nine was tough – but we look forward to seeing what their round two applications hold.”

Treemendous judge and Project Crimson Trustee, Ruud ‘The Bugman’ Kleinpaste says the school makeovers are essential for helping young people become nature-literate again and also help remind people of the important role ecosystems and biodiversity play in the world.

“Treemendous outdoor classrooms are the perfect way to re-connect our kids – and their teachers – with the natural world at a time when we are overloaded with digital technology. Thank you Mazda, for sharing this vision and for supporting nature-literacy.”

In stage one of the application process students and teachers were asked to submit a proposal which included details about aspects of their planned makeover.

The finalists are in the process of developing landscaping plans for their stage two submissions, which will be judged to select the winning entries. Four out of the nine schools will be chosen to each receive a $10,000 makeover that will take place in 2017 and the remaining finalists will be awarded $500 for their hard work.

The four winning schools will be announced in November.