Konini Primary School’s TREEmendous new outdoor learning space

09 May 2019

Konini Primary School can now proudly call itself a TREEmendous school, after the Lower Hutt school community came together to help plant a thousand native plants and shrubs over the weekend.

Konini Primary School was one of five schools selected to win a $10,000 grant towards creating an outdoor learning space this year thanks to TREEmendous – a joint initiative between Project Crimson and the Mazda Foundation.

The school has transformed a 1508m2 area near its boundary fence by extensive planting of native plants and shrubs. The area was originally a wetland, so the trees will improve water absorption meaning the students can use their school field year-round.

Konini Primary School hopes this will allow its students to develop their understanding of biodiversity, give them a space to explore and connect with nature and equip them to protect their natural environment both now and in the future.

The school hopes to eventually add habitats to encourage birds, insects such as weta and butterflies, skinks and geckos into its school garden, as well as create a nature walkway for its students.

Andrea Scanlan, Principal at Konini Primary School, says the school is already passionate about the environment and its curriculum reflects its commitment to encouraging students to live sustainably, along with an emphasis on play-based learning.

“Natural play spaces allow children to play in imaginative and creative ways, which leads to improved language and collaboration skills.

Our new outdoor learning space will be fantastic in helping our younger students develop these skills as well as allowing them to connect with and care for nature,” she says.

Mazda Foundation Chairman David Hodge says it was inspiring to visit a school that is so passionate about caring for the environment and passing these values on to the next generation.

“Studies show that learning in nature has so many benefits for young peoples’ health and overall wellbeing. It’s great that Konini Primary School recognises not only the importance of looking after our natural environment but also what a great learning tool nature can be,” he says.

On Friday, Mazda Ambassadors, marine scientist Riley ‘The Sharkman’ Elliott and Ruud ‘The Bugman’ Kleinpaste visited the school. Riley spoke to the students about the importance of conservation especially taking care of our oceans. Ruud introduced his insect friends and spoke with both teachers and students about the importance of bugs and the different roles they play in our environment.

After planting all morning on Saturday, the community was treated to a BBQ thanks to PAK‘n’SAVE Lower Hutt who donated more than 200 celebratory sausages for the hungry workers.

Konini Primary School is the second school to be visited by the TREEmendous team this year, with Hukerenui School, Te Uku School and Aparima College up next. This event marks the 46th school to get the TREEmendous treatment in the last 11 years!

Applications to become a TREEmendous School close on 14 June. For more information visit http://treemendous.org.nz/

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