Planting a 'powerful learning experience'

16:00, Mar 26 2014
Verran Primary
PRIMARY CAREGIVERS: Verran Primary pupils Stevie Johnson-Roberts, centre, and Liby Irwing get a helping hand raising seedlings from Trees For Survival volunteer Andrew Fraser.

North Shore school kids have been recognised for their part planting trees.

Birkdale's Verran Primary scored a $400 runner-up prize in the Holyoake Awards while Albany Primary and Murrays Bay School achieved Kowhai School recognition.

The awards were created by Trees for Survival, a charitable trust established in 1994.

The trust provides an environmental education programme helping young people grow and plant native trees to save eroded land, waterways and biodiversity.

The programme is supported by the Ministry of Environment and dozens of businesses including Birkenhead Rotary which sponsors Verran Primary.

Rotary provided the school with potting mix to raise native trees and bussed the schoolkids out to a west Auckland farm in the Waikoukou Valley to plant them.


Maureen Robertson, a teacher at the primary says the kids are "very keen" on bus rides but appreciate more the lesson learned raising native trees.

"We love being involved in community projects, it's a powerful learning experience applying these skills," she says.

The Holyoake Award acknowledges schools that have successfully achieved the aims and objectives of the Trees for Survival programme.

Kowhai status means a school has achieved the necessary performance standards in delivering Trees for Survival's educational and environmental goals.

Last year, Verran Primary raised 1000 native seedlings in their nursery, planting 800 of them.

The remaining year-old seedlings were donated to other schools, helping them make a contribution.

This year the kids at Verran Primary plan to raise 2000 more trees, returning to the farm for another planting, Ms Robertson says.

Since its founding, Trees for Survival has planted over a million trees - over 70,000 a year.

North Shore Times