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Ficino School—18 September 2013

September 20, 2013

Today a great group of Year Six students from Ficino School in Auckland visited CUE Haven for a fun day of learning and tree planting.

The students arrived just before ten.  The class included Andrea, Annabelle, Ethan, Freeman, George, Hazel, Jack, Luc-Aime, Renee, Scarlet, Stella, Susan, Tyriq and Zachary along with their teacher Ashley Leathley and parents Nick and Oliver.


In addition, Sophie Barclay of the Auckland Council’s Waicare group and Shelly Hackett of Auckland Council’s Wastewise programme joined us to lead sessions about water quality and waste minimisation.

We first had morning tea and then gave the group a welcome and introduction to the CUE Haven project.



The plan for the day was to do three activities.  We broke the students into two groups and one went into the field with Sophie to learn about wetlands and water quality issues while the other group worked with Shelly to learn more about how to manage and minimise resource consumption and waste.  At the end of each session the groups rotated so that each group had a chance to do each activity Afterward, the entire class got together to do some tree planting.

The Waicare demonstration was conducted in the main wetland area of the property.  Sophie explained water quality issues and how the water at CUE Haven affects the water in the Kaipara Harbour.


She explained how historical farming practices can impact water quality and discussed issues such as runoff, and the source and problems with main pollutants such as nitrates and phosphates.  The students then helped conduct tests for pollutants, pH, and water clarity.



Sophie collected water and vegetation samples from the ponds and put it into shallow white trays to give the students a chance to study the pond life.  She explained the different kinds of creatures that can be found in fresh water ponds and gave the students a chance to see how many different creatures they could find and identify using a field identification chart.





Shelly conducted her Wastewise sessions in the nursery.  She explained the life cycle of trash and waste and gave the students some idea of the volume of trash produced daily in Auckland.


She had the group do exercises in identifying the components of trash and also the resources that are consumed in producing and disposing of the waste.  They also did exercises to help the group identify better ways to reduce, reuse and recycle materials so that the amount of waste going into landfills is minimised.




Shelly also had the students do an interesting game about resource depletion to help them better appreciate how to conserve our planet’s resources. The game generated a lot of interesting discussion.





Once both groups had participated in both the Waicare and Wastewise activities, they then assembled and went out into the field to do some tree planting.

We went to an area that had been initially planted in 2009.  The pioneer trees in that area have grown up nicely so we are now doing infill planting of the long lived canopy trees which require a lot more shelter from wind and sun.


Thomas gave a safety briefing and showed the students the correct way to plant the trees and the group then set to work. It was going to be a muddy experience, so here they are posing for a picture when they were still nice and clean.


The students planted 48 taraire and kahikatea trees.  The taraire will grow to over 20 metres and the kahikatea, New Zealand’s tallest native tree, will grow to over 60 metres.  These native trees will live for hundreds of years and provide food and shelter for native birds. The Ficino School students have made a major long term contribution to the revegetation project by planting them.













In less than an hour the group had finished planting and it was time to clean and enjoy the lovely spring weather with a picnic lunch. And after all the hard work, the Iced Peach Nestea, Gobstoppers and Milky Bars generously donated by Nestle NZ were much appreciated. Thanks Nestle!



After lunch we had some fun with a candy lizard tail pulling competition!


And Luc-Aime demonstrating his skills at paper airplane making and flying.


We ended the day singing Happy Birthday to celebrate Zachary’s birthday.

We want to thank Shelly and Sophie and the Auckland Council for joining us for the day.  Your presentations were great and we very much appreciate your enthusiasm and support.

Thanks to Nick and Oliver who joined in for the day and provided valuable assistance.

A big thank you to Ashley Leathley for organising the visit to CUE Haven and making it happen.  We look forward to having you back with future Ficino School classes.

And most of all our many thanks to the Ficino School students.  It was a real pleasure having a group of such polite, well mannered and enthusiastic students who were keen to learn new things. We hope your field trip was educational and enjoyable. Thank you for planting the trees and we very much hope you will come back to see how your trees have grown up and to explore more of the property.



One Comment leave one →
  1. September 20, 2013 8:19 pm

    A wonderful contribution by a great group of children from Ficino School,hope they will return to see how their plantings have grown in the future

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