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Westlake Girls High School—22 February 2014

February 23, 2014

Westlake Girls High School on Auckland’s North Shore is one of New Zealand’s largest girl’s schools.  School teacher Maree O’Leary contacted us about having some of the Year 12 and 13 Gateway Class students do projects at CUE Haven.

The plan was to have an orientation day for the students to learn about CUE Haven and to give the girls a chance to think about activities they might like to do as part of a class project.

Shortly after 9.30 on Saturday morning, Maree arrived with students Brittany, Brooke,  Chiffon, Christine, Claudia, Enya, Hope, Julie, Karen, Kendall, Mary Ann, Mitanshu, Rochelle, Summer and Taylor, and parents Alison, Anjila, Dominique, Hari, Jo, Nicci and Wayne.

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We started out with morning tea and gave the group an overview of the CUE Haven project, the plan for the day and safety issues.

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We then went for a long walk around the property to give the students a better feel for the project.  We explained the forest restoration work, weed and pest control, wetlands management, walking track construction and maintenance and native birds and plants.  We also took some time to harvest seeds from the mature puriri and kahikatea trees along the walking track.

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We also took a walk through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Grove to show the girls some of the art work and projects that other students have done.

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While the group was out on the walk, four other students – Anna, Emma, Isabella and Wairua arrived.  They had relied on their GPS for directions, but as we do not have mobile reception in the area, the GPS signal often gets scrambled and took the girls to a totally different destination. Fortunately the girls persevered and managed to get to CUE Haven an hour later.

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It was too late for them to join the walk so they went to work in the nursery potting up some seedlings.  The seedlings had been delivered from the nursery in their germination tubes and it is necessary to transplant them to larger pots so they have room to grow. This work is very important because the seedlings grow very fast and quickly outgrow the little pots they start out in.  If they are not given more room, they become root bound and will either not have healthy growth and can even die.

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After the walk the group had a light snack and talked a little bit about ideas the girls had as a result of what they had seen.

It was a really hot and humid day and the refreshing Iced Peach Nestea generously sponsored by Nestle was much appreciated. Thanks Nestle!

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Then, the students who had been on the walk got some hands on experience in the nursery.  And the girls who had already done the potting up demonstrated the work to be done.

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The group then went to work and transplanted many rimu, titoki, kohekohe seedlings.

We would like to thank Daltons for generously providing their excellent premium potting mix that we used for today’s planting.

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The girls also got acquainted with some of the creatures who share the nursery with the plants.

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In the meantime, the four students who had arrived later and worked in the nursery while the group was out walking, went out to the field and helped install some steps on the wetland walking track.

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In addition to a couple of very professional looking steps, they also added some flax flowers to the landscape:

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The group left about 12.30 p.m. The plan now is for the students to take a couple of days to think about what they saw and did on their visit and to work on project ideas.  They will come back for a day later next month with their project work.

We’d like to thank Maree for her interest in the CUE Haven project and for organising the day.  It was a pleasure meeting and working with the students and we look forward to your next visit.  Also, thank you to the parents who joined us for the day and added their support.  We look forward to having you back, too.

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