Silverdale School—18 October 2013
Silverdale School, north of Auckland is a New Zealand Enviro School. Schools participating in the Enviro School programme take an action-based approach to education to involve students in planning, designing and implementing sustainability projects both at school and throughout the wider community. The objective is to make students a catalyst for positive environmental change at school, home and in the wider community.
The school has recently moved to a new location and they have a one acre block adjoining the school property where they are hoping to create a New Zealand native forest. The block currently has some native bush, but also a lot of weeds and open areas. The students are in the process of developing a restoration plan which they will present to the school and the board of trustees.
Auckland Council Environmental Sustainability co-ordinator, Morag Vasilaki, suggested a visit to CUE Haven so that the students could see a restoration project in progress and get ideas for their own school project
The 18 year six students arrived at about nine-thirty and they were led by teacher Linda Pavitt. Linda was accompanied by school caretaker, Andy Pierce, who will be assisting with the project, and parents Grant, Paula and Lara. Morag, Silverdale School’s enviro co-ordinator, who will be working the students with their property restoration, was also on site to help answer questions and to give the students advice.
We started out with morning tea and an orientation to the CUE Haven project. Mahrukh explained the history of the property, our plans for it and how the restoration project benefits the surrounding area.
We then took the students to the nursery and explained how it had been converted from the old milking shed to a plant nursery and how we use it now to grow longer-lived trees for our revegetation work.
We had about 60 small plants that were still in their germination tubes and were ready to be potted up into larger pots. We asked the students to help with the repotting as it would give them an idea of the kinds of tasks involved with the project.
Tom gave an explanation of how native trees are grown from seeds and demonstrated how to do the potting. The students then went to work and quickly got all the plants transplanted.
Once the potting was finished, we went on a long walking tour of the property. Tom and Morag pointed out various aspects and issues associated with the restoration project. We pointed out wetland plantings, how different plants do better in different locations and also talked about weed and pest control.
They also visited the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award (DOEHA) grove and saw some of the artwork the award participants have been creating. The students particularly liked the idea of incorporating art in their project too.
And they tested out the bench that the DOEHA students had installed last week!
The students were a very enthusiastic group and had lots of questions and we hope they got a lot of good ideas for their project.
After we finished the walk the students had a quick snack but needed to head back to school for some additional planning for their restoration work.
We’d like to thank Nestle NZ for providing hot chocolate, iced Peach Nestea and Kit Kat bars for the students. They were much appreciated.
Thank You Morag for arranging the visit and joining us and adding a lot of value with your expertise and insights. We really appreciate it.
And thank you Linda, Andy, Grant, Lara and Paula your assistance today.
Most of all a Big Thank You to the students for your hard work in the nursery. We really enjoyed spending time with you and enjoyed showing you around CUE Haven. We wish you the best of luck with your restoration project. We look forward to coming out to see your work sometime. And we hope you will come back to visit us too!