Alexandra Primary School’s Treemendous new outdoor classroom


Almost 100 local community members attended a working bee at Alexandra Primary School on Saturday, helping bring new life to its outdoor area with a Treemendous School Makeover.

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, staff from Mazda New Zealand, Dunedin City Mazda, community members, Mazda Foundation, together with the Project Crimson team pitched in to complete the makeover.

The previously bare school grounds were brought to life with a new outdoor classroom, which incorporates the school’s original stone building. Hundreds of tussocks and hebes were planted, with a schist path that winds through the foliage and leads back to the little stone school. A kowhai grove and a mini orchard were also planted so the children can learn about the growing and maintenance of plants and produce.

School principal Adele Gott said the project was not only an incredible showcase of what students can achieve when they put their minds to something, but also highlighted their passion for the environment.

“Our students were very excited to get stuck in with the makeover on Saturday. We couldn’t be more proud of them for being a part of the process, from the design and concept, to the planting and digging – and what a marvellous result!

“We’d also like to give special recognition to all the parents, teachers, and families who attended the makeover, and those who helped out in the lead up to the working bee,” 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.

Alexandra Mayor Tim Cadogan was also in attendance, showing his support for the community.

“One of the best parts of my job is seeing our community come together for a great cause,” he said. “The students at Alexandra Primary School are filled with passion and enthusiasm for the natural environment, which is very humbling to see.”

Alexandra Primary School was the first school to receive a Treemendous School Makeover this year. Next is Leithfield School in May, followed by Nelson Central School and Houghton Valley School. The final makeover for 2017 will be Reporoa School in September.

Applications for the 2018 Treemendous Makeovers open on the 3rd April 2017, please visit: for more information.

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