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Avondale Intermediate School—2 May 2018

May 3, 2018

Today, and for the third year in a row, teacher Doug Caldwell of Avondale Intermediate School in Auckland brought his students to CUE Haven for a day of planting and learning.

We really enjoy hosting the Avondale Intermediate students, and it was great to see familiar faces of the students who had come out last year and also meeting new students and teachers.

The group included 34 students from Avondale Intermediate and 3 students from Oaklynn School and teachers – Doug, Heather, Kelly and parent – Rebecca.

Also joining us was Gail Allende of Auckland Council’s Trees for Survival program, and our good friend Alan who was helping out for the day.

The plan was for the students to plant the trees they had grown in their school nursery as part of the Auckland Council sponsored Trees for Survival program. The students were planting in the wetland and to give them a real appreciation of the importance of wetland planting, we had also scheduled a Waicare program for the day.  Gail was on site to manage the planting activity and conduct the Waicare session.

The group arrived shortly after ten and we had a quick morning tea – (our thanks to Nestle for providing the delicious hot chocolate milk for the students).  Mahrukh then gave the students a welcome and talked a little about the history of CUE Haven and the importance of the wetlands planting that the students would be doing today.

Gail then talked about the plan for the day and gave a safety briefing.

We then headed out to the planting site where Gail explained the name and characteristics of the plants the students would be planting.  She also gave a demonstration on how to plant safely.

The plan for the day was to plant flaxes, cabbage trees, cyperus and some kahikatea in the wetlands.  As a result, the planting activity stretched along the entire length of the boardwalk as students carried plants out to good planting locations that weren’t too wet.

The students were assisted and supervised by and Gail, Alan, Thomas and the accompanying teachers and parent.

When the planting was finished, the students assisted with collecting all the crates, bags and equipment and carried it back to the nursery.

After everyone washed up, the group had lunch and then Gail led the Waicare session.

The presentation started with an overview of water quality issues and why we should be concerned about waterways.  Gail explained the sorts of things that have adversely affected Auckland streams, wetlands and beaches.  She explained some of the things that scientists look at in assessing water quality.

Gail had previously collected some samples from the CUE Haven stream for testing and study and had the students do two activities—one, testing the clarity of the water to assess silt levels and two, examining water samples to identify macroinvertebrates—the tiny animals that live in streams.  The amount and diversity of animal life is an indicator of the health of the waterway.

The students broke into smaller groups so that each person had a chance to participate in the experiments.  Gail and the teachers assisted and supervised.

Water clarity testing involved looking through a tube filled with water and measuring the distance light can penetrate.  It is a test that requires teamwork.

The other task involved studying the aquatic vegetation in the water samples and identifying the macroinvertebrates.  Gail provided the students with charts to help them with the identification process and they found a variety of creatures.

It was a fun day of planting and learning and the Avondale Intermediate and Oaklyn School students were wonderful guests.

We want to thank Alan for all his help today.  Thanks Alan – we really appreciate your hard work and help and look forward to your continued involvement with CUE Haven.

Our many thanks to Gail.  Gail you have been involved with TFS plantings at CUE Haven from the very start and as always, the planting day went very well thanks to your organisation and support before and on the day. We really appreciate all your help and your continued support of our efforts to restore CUE Haven and look forward to having you visit us again soon.

Also a huge thank you to Doug, Heather, Kelly and Rebecca for all their help to make today a special day for the students.

Finally, a very BIG THANK YOU to all the students. We really enjoyed meeting all of you and working with you.  We appreciate your hard work growing the trees and then planting them today. You have made a significant contribution to the CUE Haven restoration project, our environment and our community.

We wish you the best of luck with your studies and we do hope you will come back and see us (and your trees) again soon!

THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

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