St. Kentigern School TFS Planting Day—26 July 2012
One of our favourite days at CUE Haven has become the St. Kentigern School Trees For Survival planting day. The very first trees planted as part of the CUE Haven restoration project were planted by St. Kentigern students in August 2008; and the science teacher, Denise Coleman and a group of students have come to CUE Haven every year since then to plant trees.
We had previously collected the plants from the school. The trees had all been planted from seeds by the students last year and they helped us load up the truck.
On the morning of the 26th, Gail Farrell, the TFS coordinator, arrived and went to work setting out the plants in the planting area. This year we were doing in fill planting in a previously planted areas near the wetlands. Our friends Rene and Marianne are visiting from the South Island and were a great help today. Rene helped Gail lay out the plants and also worked alongside the planters.
In past years the group size had been restricted to 30 Year 6 students. But this year all the Year 6 science students came along, so we had 61 students, including four Year 7 science monitors. They were accompanied by Denise and two other teachers, St. Kentigern School principal, Geoff Burgess and 11 parents. Also, five Rotarians from the Auckland Sunshine Rotary Club came along and helped out as they have done in each previous year.
Once everyone had arrived and enjoyed morning tea, Gail gave an introduction and safety briefing.
Gail then introduced Rachel Griffiths of the Auckland Council WaiCare programme. Rachel gave a brief talk to the students about water care and wetland protection and explained that when they got into the field she would be demonstrating techniques for testing water quality and showing them some of the creatures living in the streams and ponds.
The group then walked up to the planting site and went to work.
Because of the number of students, we broke into three groups of about twenty. Two groups planted while one attended Rachel’s water testing demo and lecture. Rachael also gathered samples of macroinvertebrates in the wetland streams and ponds to show the students.
In addition to the creatures in the ponds, we also found a lot of snails, skinks and worms.
The Trees for Survival and WaiCare programmes are managed by Vanessa Vujcich of the Auckland Council and she too joined us and helped out for the day.
Another guest on-site today was Lisa Thompson from Radio New Zealand National. Lisa came along to record a show featuring CUE Haven for Radio NZ National’s Spectrum program. The students and adults provided a great sound rich backdrop as Lisa spent time mingling with and chatting to several people.
After the planting, we all went down for lunch.
Our friend, Marianne assisted and ensured the team were well provided with snacks and drinks.
Our supporter Nestle New Zealand supplied coffee, Nestea and Milo bars which were thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed by everyone.
Thanks Nestle – we all really appreciate your support!!
Before the group left, the boys presented us with a Pohutakawa Springfire tree which they planted next to the four trees the school has presented us for each of the years they have come out to plant.
As always, the planting day with St. Kentigerns was a major success. In less than two hours the team planted almost 540 trees and made a major contribution to the CUE Haven project. We are very grateful to teachers Denise Coleman, Barry Kemp and Kurt Dorset, principal Geoff Burgess, and the students and parents who came out and made the day so enjoyable.
We also really appreciate the participation of Andrew Chong, David Jones, Duncan Bamfield, Paul Buchanan and Stephen Flemming of the Auckland Sunshine Rotary Club. They provide great help and encouragement and we value their friendship and contribution.
A big thank you to Gail Farrell, our TFS coordinator, who organised the planting activities and always provides us with invaluable technical advice to move our revegetation project forward.
We want to extend many thanks to Rachel Griffiths of the Auckland Council WaiCare program. The students very much enjoyed her knowledge and enthusiasm and her visit added a lot to the day. And thanks to Vanessa Vujcich for her help today and all of the great help that the Auckland Council has provided through TFS and WaiCare.
We also want to extend special thanks to Lisa Thompson and Radio New Zealand National for their interest in and support of the CUE Haven restoration project.
Lastly but not least a big thank you to our friends Rene and Marianne for their hard work helping out when they are supposed to be on holiday.