Schools get cash to work on river

High school students are among the recipients of new grants aimed at improving the Manawatu River and its catchment.

Ten groups have received funding from a $90,000 pool as part of the Manawatu River Leaders' Forum, from requests for funding worth $596,247.

Among them is Tararua College which will use the money to build a greenhouse for the propagation of native trees which will then be planted on the banks of the Mangatainoka River.

Principal Glynis De Castro said the plants would be cared for by students learning horticulture and agriculture.

The school was also looking at setting up an environmental club to let other students get involved.

The grants funding was part of the $5.2 million awarded to the forum following a successful bid to central government's Fresh Start for Freshwater Clean-Up Fund in 2012.

Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney said the funding provided a chance for the community "to turn and face the river as we work to address water quality issues in the catchment".

"We know there are some fantastic ideas and skills out there. This was evident in the applications received and we're eager to support these projects as they enhance community understanding and make a real difference on the ground."

A funding pool of $90,000 will be available for the next two years.

Other groups that received grants this time round were the Reel Earth Film Festival, NZ Landcare Trust, Save Our River Trust and Nga Kaitiaki o Ngati Kauwhata.

Mr McCartney said the selected projects had goals in line with those of the Manawatu River Leaders' Accord, demonstrated a tangible improvement in community understanding and involvement in the river cleanup and showed collaboration between community groups.

"By working together we can achieve so much more than would be possible in isolation. The community grants initiative is just one more example of the power of collaboration when it comes to improving our river," Mr McCartney said.

"It's not just funding, but also an opportunity for groups to tap into support and advice from river leaders and will help accelerate progress towards achieving goals set out in the Manawatu River Accord."

Manawatu Standard