Houghton Valley School’s Treemendous new outdoor learning zone


Wellington’s Houghton Valley School has created a new outdoor learning zone, including a viewing platform overlooking native trees as part of Treemendous.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Treemendous 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 $10,000 towards turning their environmental visions into a reality.

On Saturday (12 August), members of the school community, parents, teachers and children, staff from Mazda New Zealand and Capital City Motors, Mazda Foundation Trustees, along with the team from Project Crimson, all pitched in together to dig holes, move mulch and plant trees and shrubs.

The school had a large unused bush wilderness area that was transformed to include paths and seating. Viewing areas were constructed on the day to allow current and future students to observe and learn about the extensive natives planted, which now enhance the school’s existing bush surroundings.

Principal Raewyn Watson says Treemendous has motivated and sparked the environmental passion in the students and they can’t wait to start using the area.

“The new outdoor learning zone will be invaluable to the teachings of current and future students. Our staff and students are eager to incorporate the environmental space into their everyday curriculum to emphasise the importance of looking after the environment now, and in the future.

“We want to give a special thanks to our enviro leader Jill Holmstead, all the children, the Mazda Foundation, Project Crimson and the local community who took time out of their day to make this all happen,” she says.

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.

Mazda Ambassador Riley Elliott, who’s better known as ‘Shark Man’, also attended the event and talked to students on the Friday prior about the importance of looking after marine ecosystems and encouraged them to pursue what they are passionate about.

Mazda Foundation Trustee Andrew Clearwater says it was inspiring to see such passion for the environment at Houghton Valley School.

“Houghton Valley was a notable example of the passion and enthusiasm the students and the school have about the environment. It was a tremendous success and I can’t wait to hear how the students utilise the revitalised area,“ he says.

Houghton Valley was the fourth school to become a Treemendous School this year, following Nelson Central in June, Leithfield School in May and Alexandra Primary School in March. The final school to get a visit from the Treemendous team will be Reporoa School on 16 September.

Visit http://treemendous.org.nz/ to see more pictures from the Treemendous day at Houghton Valley School and more information on Treemendous. Applications for Treemendous have now closed for this year and will reopen again early next year.

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