Schools committed to tree planting.


Ladbrooks School pupils about to get stuck in to planting.

Ladbrooks School pupils about to get stuck in to planting. Photo by Te Ara Kakariki.

Children from nine Canterbury schools have committed to the Kids’ Discovery Plantout project this autumn to plant 3000 native plants and Te Ara Kakariki co-ordinator, Brooke Turner is delighted by the response.

“The programme has been a huge success. We’re planting through to June and then we’ll start again in spring,” she says.

She says having a well co-ordinated team, working seamlessly together has played a large part in the success of the schools’ planting programme.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without Matt Stanford from Enviroschools and the team from Lincoln University. Matt is already working with the schools through the enviroschools programme and has extended the programme to integrate the restoration project; while Lincoln University sends an invertebrate ecologist out to our planting days to work with the children.


“These sorts of resources are invaluable to us and coupled with funding from Whakaora Te Waihora for plants and maintenance, they have played a major part in the success of the programme. Basically it’s set the programme up for future years. The schools are now on board and they’re enthusiastic about getting the children involved in these sorts of activities,” says Brooke.

Tai Tapu School Kids' Discovery Plantout day. Photo by Te Ara Kakariki.

Tai Tapu School Kids’ Discovery Plantout day. Photo by Te Ara Kakariki.

The Kid’s Discovery Plantout project began in 2014 and with funding from Whakaora Te Waihora.

“We held our first planting days in Spring 2014, with two schools planting 1,000 trees; and both pupils and teachers have given us great feedback.

“That’s great for us because this is all about connecting schools to their local communities and getting them outside to learn about Nature,” says Brooke.


The Kids’ Discovery Plantout project is a collaboration between Te Ara Kākāriki, Enviroschools, Waihora Ellesmere Trust and Lincoln University, working within the Selwyn District to restore native vegetation communities. These areas of native plants will also contribute to creating habitat for fauna and improving waterway health,  in particular Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.


“By working together and streamlining existing projects, we’ll make it easier for schools to incorporate conservation and biodiversity into their curriculums. The aim is to spark curiosity and inquiry in students through learning about the interconnectedness of a native ecosystem and its biodiversity values,” says Brooke.

Glentunnel School pupils helping lay out plants.

Glentunnel School pupils helping lay out plants. Photo by Te Ara Kakariki.

“Research has shown that children who spend more time outdoors are better adjusted to do school work and live happier lives, and this project aims to provide schools with an opportunity to learn about Nature and biodiversity through hands-on experience.

“The children are also involved in ongoing monitoring and management of their site, so they’re learning about much more than just trees and planting.”

Brooke hopes to see the Kids Discovery Plantout Days continue long into the future and the team is currently working with community groups to secure further support and funding.

David Murphy, Whakaora Te Waihora programme implementation manager says: “Whakaora Te Waihora is very proud of the great planting that the pupils and students are doing, and their passion for helping to restore Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere.”


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