Last Saturday over 120 Southland community members arrived bright and early at Wyndham School to plant trees and transform their outdoor area with a Treemendous School Makeover.
The Treemendous School Makeover programme is a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson that sees four schools selected each year to receive a $10,000 makeover, and create an outdoor educational space through the planting of native trees.
Students, teachers, staff from Mazda New Zealand, Macaulay Motors, Mazda Foundation, together with the Project Crimson team pitched in to complete the transformation.
A large unused area next to the school’s tennis court was converted into a native garden, bush plot and outdoor classroom where children can learn about native flora and fauna. The space will encourage more native birds to the area, with the trees providing shelter and a food source. Fruit trees were also planted, teaching the students about the importance of growing their own food.
Wyndham School administrator, Debbie Nicholson, who applied for the makeover with teacher Lynne Trewin, says the school spent months plotting ideas on how to create the best space for the children and the result is better than expected.
“Our new learning space is fantastic. The students, including the ‘environment helpers’ group, are already actively involved in caring for the environment and can’t wait to learn about the different species our new native trees will attract to the area. The makeover wouldn’t have been possible without the continuous support from our local community and families. We appreciate all the hard work and dedication they have put in to furthering the environmental education of our students,” she says.
Ruud ‘The Bugman’ Kleinpaste brought along his six-legged friends and talked to the children about New Zealand’s native bugs and why it’s important to take care of the environment.
Southland District Mayor, Gary Tong also showed his support for the school by getting stuck in and helping the students plant native trees.
“The Wyndham Treemendous School Makeover had a hugely positive impact on our local community, not only because it brought everyone together, but the students now have an incredible garden which they can enjoy and learn from,” he says.
Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation, says, “It’s fantastic working alongside schools like Wyndham that put such a strong emphasis on outdoor learning and the environment. The Mazda Foundation is proud to be a part of the Treemendous School Makeover programme and it’s great to see environmental awareness increase in schools.”
Applications for the 2017 Treemendous Makeovers are now open, for more information head to www.treemendous.org.nz