Kids planting programme a success

Since 2014 the Te Ara Kākāriki programme has been getting young children involved in planting around Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere through the Kid’s Discovery Plant-out project.

David Murphy Programme Implementation Manager, Whakaora Te Waihora, says we invested in this programme because we saw it as an opportunity to engage with local schools and get more people interested in the restoration of the lake.

The Kids’ Discovery Plant-out project is a collaboration between Whakaora Te Waihora, Te Ara Kākāriki, Enviroschools, Waihora Ellesmere Trust and Lincoln University, working within the Selwyn District to restore native vegetation communities.

As part of the programme this year Rolleston Christian School and Broadfield School collaborated with the Selwyn District Council to develop a new native planting site at Foster Park.

As well as planting the new site, students learnt how to weave harakeke with Aunty Daphne O’Connell, investigated invertebrates with Lincoln University entomologist Mike Bowie and made habitats for weta with Enviroschools facilitator Matt Stanford and propagated kowhai seedlings, learning about our native birds and the predators that threaten them.2

When asked how the students found the day, one commented – “it was probably one of the best days at school ever.”

Jacinda Watson, a Year 3 teacher at Broadfield School, said it was “a thoroughly enjoyable day for both the children and adults. The variety of activities to choose from were fantastic and suitable for the age range of the children. We would do this again in a heartbeat.”

Also as part of the programme this year Springston School sent 110 students to undertake biodiversity activities at Chamberlains Ford. The students rotated around four activities; planting 500 native seedlings, investigating the aquatic invertebrates living in the Waikirikiri / Selwyn River, hunting for terrestrial invertebrates on a Minibeast Safari and creating an invertebrate from natural items.3

“Whakaora Te Waihora is very proud of the passion these children are showing towards the restoration of Te Waihora,” says David Murphy.

“This programme is teaching children about conservation, planting and the culture surrounding the lake and we cannot beat that,” says David.

Whakaora Te Waihora supports Kid’s Discovery Plant-out activities with twelve schools at twelve sites around the lake, including Coes Ford, Chamberlains Ford, and the Lakeside Scientific Reserve.