Environmental grant for Southland school

Heddon Bush Primary School pupils Naomi Hamilton, 12, Rosie Dykes, 11, Ian Hudson, 9, Jamie Hamilton, 12, and Jamie ...
JOANNA GRIFFITHS/FAIRFAX NZ

Heddon Bush Primary School pupils Naomi Hamilton, 12, Rosie Dykes, 11, Ian Hudson, 9, Jamie Hamilton, 12, and Jamie Hudson, 12, get ready to plant native trees at the Heddon Bush Covenant. Photo: JOANNA GRIFFITHS/FAIRFAX NZ

Pupils at Heddon Bush Primary School are doing their bit to help preserve the natural habitat of their area.

The school has received a $5700 grant from Environmental Southland to go towards the planting and preserving of the Heddon Bush covenant.

The one-hectare block the children have affectionately named ``Donut", is a five-minute drive from the school.

The pupils travel to the site four times a year to weed, spray and plant native trees in an effort to bring Donut back to its original state.

Heddon Bush Board of Trustees chairman Ken Dykes approached Environment Southland for the grant.

"It is the last of a rare ecosystem that was a great podocarp forest in the western plains district."

The school got involved with the rejuvenation of the site eight years ago after receiving a $1000 donation from the Winton Masonic Lodge, he said.

"The money we've got from Environment Southland will allow us to plant about 1000 native plants over the next two to three years."

It was an important site to preserve for future generations, he said.

"I might not live to see the trees we have planted fully grown, but that is ok because we are doing this for future generations."

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By getting actively involved with taking care of Donut, the pupils at Heddon Bush Primary had become passionate about the environment, he said.

"I hope one day the children that have passed through the school will return to Donut and be proud of the part they played in saving this patch of native bush."

Pupil Naomi Hamilton, 12, said she liked doing her bit for the environment.

"I like feeling like I'm helping protect New Zealand's native bush."

Fellow pupil Rosie Dykes, 11, said she was excited to plant more trees.

"I have planted between 10 and 15 trees since I was in year three."

Everyone was proud of Donut, she said.

"We are really looking forward to our next trip when we get to plant new native trees." 

 - Invercargill Eye

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