Nelson Central School’s Treemendous new outdoor learning area


Nelson Central School has a new outdoor learning area, including a sensory pathway as part of 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.

The makeover on Saturday (17 June) was completed by more than 220 members of the school community, staff from Mazda New Zealand, the Mazda Foundation, along with the team from Project Crimson, who all pitched in together to complete the outdoor learning area.

The school is working on a waste minimisation initiative and to complement this, the makeover saw native trees planted to entice birds and insects to the school. A new sensory pathway was built, complete with the planting of diverse native trees, to create habitats and ecosystems for the native birds and insects, while engaging children in the outdoor environment.

School Principal Pip Wells says the students are passionate about being environmentally friendly and the outdoor learning area will provide even more of an opportunity to learn about the natural 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 our enviro leader Lynley Walters and all the children, 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.

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

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese got stuck in and showed her support for the community at the event.

“It’s very humbling to see the younger generation in the Nelson community so passionate about the environment,” she said.

“The students at Nelson Central School have done a spectacular job, and I can’t wait to see where their environmental education leads them in the future.”

Mazda Foundation Chairman, David Hodge, says it was inspiring to see such passion for the environment at Nelson Central School.

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

Nelson Central was the third school to receive a Treemendous School Makeover this year, following Leithfield School in May and Alexandra Primary School in March. Next up is Houghton Valley School in August, followed by Reporoa School in September, which will be the final makeover for the year.

Applications for the 2018 Treemendous School Makeovers close 23 June, for more information head to

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