More than 1000 native trees are thriving at a plant nursery within Greymouth High School grounds, ready to be distributed to schools throughout the Grey District – one for every student in both primary and high school – through the Rotary Club of Greymouth’s Trees for Māwhera project.
The project is driven by students of the high school’s new Conservation and Earthcare course, which provides hands-on learning on current and future sustainability issues and biodiversity protection. The course also involves the West Coast Trades Academy and Papa Taiao Earthcare.
Through sowing and nurturing native seedlings for the project, Years 11 and 12 students are gaining experience in a wide range of areas, including native plant species and seed selection, propagation, nursery layout and development, sustainability practices, pest monitoring and control, bushcraft, health and safety, project and resource management.
The gifting of trees will be achieved through the district’s primary and secondary schools.
Teachers and students will discuss what planting opportunities and locations would be favourable, which may range from students’ homes, local parks, school grounds, waste ground improvement sites or sports grounds. Consideration is given to the most suitable plants for the location, conditions and soil types.
“The project is driven by students of the high school’s new Conservation and Earthcare course, which provides hands-on learning on current and future sustainability issues and biodiversity protection.”
Funding for the project is generated through a collaboration between the Rotary Club of Greymouth and Tai Poutini Polytechnic. Every year, Polytechnic carpentry students build a three-bedroom relocatable house to gain real-world work experience. Once complete, locals can bid on the home at auction knowing the proceeds will be going to a good cause.
Tai Poutini Polytechnic Chief Executive, Alex Cabrera, says working with Rotary to support the Trees for Māwhera project is a wonderful way to bring West Coast children closer to their environment and support lifelong learning about sustainability and biodiversity.
“Our carpentry program is extremely fortunate to have the support of some wonderful local tradespeople and businesses each year,” Alex said. “Their donations of material and services means we can make a strong contribution to local charities at the end of each year.”
Past President of the Rotary Club of Greymouth, Catherine Moffitt, says supporting youth, education, conservation and the environment are key Rotary goals.
“Greymouth High School’s new Conservation and Earthcare course incorporates all those factors, making it an easy choice for our membership to support as the club’s major fundraising initiative,” Catherine said.