Moturoa school celebrates 20 years of conservation planting

Trees for survival programme tour guide Jax Morgan is interested in becoming a landscaper one day.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Trees for survival programme tour guide Jax Morgan is interested in becoming a landscaper one day.

Jax Morgan reckons he's going to be a landscaper one day and he's already got the knowledge of plants to do it.

Walking around the Moturoa School grounds in New Plymouth, the 11-year-old is able to list off the scientific names and endless facts about the native plants the school has planted as part of its Trees for Survival conservation programme.

"I just enjoy planting and learning about plants," he said.

Jax, 11, was able to reel off the names and facts about the various plants around the school, including the Kauri school.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Jax, 11, was able to reel off the names and facts about the various plants around the school, including the Kauri school.

Jax and six other students acted as tour guides on Tuesday and showed parents, sponsors and other members of the public around the school's programme, which has now been running for 20 years.

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The students gather clippings and seedlings from plants around the school and at various locations around the region, which are then planted in a makeshift nursery at the school.

The programme was started 20 years ago by Bill Clarkson, the former deputy principal.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

The programme was started 20 years ago by Bill Clarkson, the former deputy principal.

"The little kids come in, all the classes come in and they plant them and then they go into the propagation area and then they go into the hardening off area to get ready for the wild because in the wild they don't really get water unless it rains," Jax explained.

When they are ready, the students take the plants to a suitable habitat, such as White Cliffs, Opunake or Paritutu Rock and plant them.

And while there are trays of various plants, Jax didn't skip a beat as he listed through them all.

Parents, sponsors and other members of the public were shown around the school's project.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Parents, sponsors and other members of the public were shown around the school's project.

"I've done it for two years," he said.

"We go in and learn them every Tuesday and Thursday."

The programme was started in 1996 by Bill Clarkson, who was deputy principal at the time but has since retired from teaching and now runs a nursery.

Moturoa School principal, Delwyn Riding, said Clarkson now comes in to the school each week and teaches the children and staff about the plants.

"It's all about education and conservation," she said.

"They're educated about the plants and also about giving back to nature."

Riding said all the plants grown at the school were threatened native species and were taken back to where they would naturally grow.

"The kids see the whole process and they can go out and take their family to Ohawe beach and say 'I planted that," she said.

 - Stuff

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