School going green with tussock

19:00, Nov 19 2012
Robert Pullar and Joshua Potter, both 9, from Pukerau Primary School plant tussocks at the Pukerau Red Tussock Reserve as part of the Enviroschools Programme and the school’s commitment to the community.
SEEDS OF CONSERVATION: Robert Pullar and Joshua Potter, both 9, from Pukerau Primary School plant tussocks at the Pukerau Red Tussock Reserve as part of the Enviroschools Programme and the school’s commitment to the community.

More than 50 children, parents and volunteers of a Southland school have got their hands dirty planting about 200 tussocks for a good cause.

Pukerau Primary School took home $500 and the prestigious Hovell Environmental Planning Contribution to the Environment at last month's Gore Community Awards, which funded this year's planting on Friday.

Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Ros Cole said it was important to plant tussocks in the Pukerau Red Tussock Reserve after they had been destroyed by the nesting of black-backed gulls.

"It's one of the largest areas of red tussock left in the Gore ecological area," she said.

"We're trying to get it all back into tussock, to restore it to its natural character."

Pukerau Primary School principal Colleen Watt said the school took part in the regional council's Enviroschools Programme for about six years.

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As part of the programme, they had since taken home a silver award and hoped to take home a gold award soon, she said.

Planting tussocks was about taking the children's environmental work outside of the school area and in to the community, Ms Watt said.

Pukerau Nursery owner Arne Cleland supplies the tussock seed to the school and said the planting day encouraged children to care about the environment at a young age.

Hovell Environmental Planning managing director Keith Hovell said it was a great cause to support.

"The great thing for me is to come here and see it's really a community activity."

This was the second year the school had planted tussocks in the reserve, where they planted 250 last year. terri.russell@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times