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Tiaki tamariki, taking care of nature through Kids Discovery Plant-out

Selwyn District students have the opportunity to make a difference to the natural spaces they connect with through the Kids Discovery Plant-out programme. The partnership between Te Ara Kākāriki, Enviroschools, mana whenua and local conservation agencies allows students to take on a role of tiaki tamariki, learning about conservation and taking action to restore habitat for wildlife.

Sixteen Schools and Sixteen Sites

Kids Discovery Plant-outs happen on public reserve land close to each school so the community can stay connected. Enviroschools facilitators support the schools to integrate the plant-out day into their classroom learning.

Activities are created to encourage students to investigate biodiversity at the site, reflect on and problem solve an issue and create something meaningful to the student.

Kids Discovery Plant-out projects have a key role to play in the Whakaora Te Waihora programme, with sixteen schools working on sixteen sites around the lake. And it’s not just about the planting.

Students have learnt how to weave harakeke, with Kaumātua Daphne O’Connell from Ngāti Moki marae, and how plants can support our well-being through rongoā rākau.

Hands-on investigations allow students to consider the many connections within a healthy ecosystem and how planting native trees can support a huge diversity of birds, insects and lizards.

Lou Drage, Kids Discovery Plant-out Coordinator, said the programme is engaging students with nature and empowering them to make a positive difference to the health of Te Waihora.

“Through planting and nature activities, we aim to share a glimpse of the taonga that live in our natural spaces and encourage community to care throughout their lifetimes,” Lou said.

illustration puteketeke

"It was probably one of the best days at school ever,” said one of the student volunteers.

Case study

In 2020, Lincoln Primary School focused on issues affecting water quality in their local waterways. At the Kids Discovery Plant-out at Te Ahuriri Wetland, students planted the riparian strip with native seedlings to filter runoff and provide habitat. They investigated aquatic invertebrates and fish living in the wetland and how species can indicate water quality and habitat quality. Through an interactive story, they reflected on the effect of pollutants and problem-solved ideas for sustainable management throughout the catchment. They also created ephemeral art to reflect on their connection and hope for life in their awa.

Students also have opportunities to revisit their restoration site and learn monitoring skills to gauge maturity of the habitat for wildlife

In November 2019, the Kids Discovery Plant-out programme won an award – the school category at the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network Awards. 

Planting at Foster Park

In 2017, students from Rolleston Christian School and Broadfield School collaborated with the Selwyn District Council to develop a new native planting site at Foster Park. 

Further information

News New Conservationists tile

27 Feb 2015

Encouraging a new generation of conservationists

In 2015 Canterbury school children participated in Kid's Discovery Plant-out Days aimed at encouraging kids to get involved in nature and the environment.

Learn more
News Getting to know Ahuriri tile

06 Jun 2014

Getting to know Ahuriri lagoon

Ahuriri Lagoon is a significant mahinga kai resource located on the Huritini/Halswell River between Tai Tapu and Motukarara.

Learn more