Project Crimson has a strong focus on environmental education in schools throughout New Zealand. Encouraging children to take pride in their environment and to see the value of biodiversity is important to the Trust. Project Crimson works with schools through the TREEmendous and LEARNZ programmes.

New Zealand primary and intermediate schools can apply to transform their school grounds through a Treemendous School Makeover as part of an initiative by the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson.

The TREEmendous programme was a finalist in the 2017 and 2015 Green Ribbon Awards. Run by the Ministry for the Environment and Department of Conservation these awards recognise the outstanding contributions made by individuals, organisations, businesses and communities to protecting and enhancing New Zealand’s environment.

Four New Zealand schools each year are chosen to have their grounds improved and enhanced through the implementation of their ideas, be it a lizard garden, a substantial native planting, creation of our outdoor classroom, creating bird habitats or all of these and more! These TREEmendous School Makeovers are completed by the travelling TREEmendous team, who along with the school community will create a beautiful native tree garden that everyone can enjoy for generations.

You can watch a video of one of our TREEmendous School Makeovers here.


LEARNZ is an interactive education programme that uses online tools such as live audio conferencing, web diaries, and videos to take students to places they would never usually get the chance to visit, without the expense and time of a physical field trip.

Each year more than 2,000 primary, intermediate, and secondary school students from around the country have participated in the virtual field-trips to learn about pōhutukawa and rata.

The four-day LEARNZ-run Project Crimson field is used to teach students about biodiversity, coastal ecosystems and habitats, land use, resource management and plant biology.

LEARNZ virtual field trips are free, fully supported, interactive student experiences and the largest collection of New Zealand, contemporary digital resources for education. Any New Zealand school can particpate in LEARNZ, to find out more visit

2010 Whangarei Road Trip

Project Crimson and the LEARNZ team headed north this time. We wanted to find some pohutukawa in flower.

Day 1 we were at Kai Iwi Lakes, north of Dargaville. At the Pine Beach campsite they have removed aging, dangerous pines. Project Crimson, Kaipara District Council and National Bank Rural Managers from Dargaville helped to plant pohutukawa around the camp site. In a few years, there will be shade and the beautiful red flowers at the amazing camp ground. Around all the new plantings, there was a deep layer of mulch. Ruud Kleinpaste explained how the insects would break down the mulch and even the old pine stumps!

Day 2 we visited Carolyn and John, who have been planting their property with native trees over the last few years. They live on the Tutukaka coastline with a walkway down to the coast. Then it was off to visit Ian Fox and his team at AlterNatives in Waipu. His nursery grows 1000s of natives plant, including some of Project Crimson’s for revegetation. We got to see what the seed looks like and how quickly the plants grow.

Day 3 we went to another revegetation site, out by the Whangarei Heads. Tony Munroe is managing the land on behalf of his iwi. There is an interesting combination of land uses. There are a few houses, there is a propagation shed, there are rows of potatoes and there are pohutukawa provided by Project Crimson. The first ones were planted 15 years ago by Tony’s grandmother.

And the answer is, yes we saw pohutukawa in flower! We saw them on the roadside at Dargaville and again by Whangarei Heads.

Thank you to all those that shared their special part of the country with the LEARNZ and Project Crimson teams. Check out the videos below from our trip around the East Coast.

2009 East Cape Trip

The LEARNZ team and Project Crimson travelled to the East Coast of the North Island, starting the virtual trip at Gisborne.

Day 1 saw the team visit Native Gardens Nursery at Gisborne to see where all the pohutukawa seedlings are grown. Then it was off to Tuahine Point where Sandy Bull and his team of helpers have planted plenty of pohutukawa provided by Project Crimson.

Day 2 saw Ruud Kleinpaste, aka the Bugman, getting very excited about his favourites things, bugs!

On day 3 the team visited the remote East Coast at Ruatoria and met Graeme Atkins to see what work he has undertaken at the Pokai Marae.