Treemendous Day at Leithfield School

25th May 2017 | North Canterbury News 
 
A forest of the future has been created at Leithfield School.
 
Last Saturday more than 1140 young trees were planted at the school during the Treemendous School Makeovers programme working bee.
 
School principal Sharon Marsh said the new forest grew from pine trees being removed from the huge site.
 
The long-term vision for the area is to make it into a community space.
 
"The idea is that everybody owns this space," she said.
 
An outdoor learning site has also been created near the new forest, along with raised planter boxes for vegetables, and 25 fruit trees which were all donated by families and also planted during the working bee.
 
Mrs Marsh, who has only been at the school for just over two years, was thrilled with the support the project received.
 
"The school's motto is 'strong community, confident future'," she said.
 
"This is an example of what that looks like. This is such a great community.
 
They are so connected, so generous."
 
The ambitious project was given a huge financial boost after the school won a $10,000 prize from the Treemendous School Makeovers programme, a joint initiative between the philanthropic Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson, a charitable trust working to restore ecosystems in New Zealand.
 
The Treemendous School Makeovers programme began in 2008 with the aim of creating native gardens and outdoor classrooms at New Zealand schools with funding from the Mazda Foundation.
 
Each year four schools are chosen in a competition to win $10,000 of funding to have their grounds improved with substantial native planting, creating a lizard garden, building bird habitats or a combination of all those. All primary and intermediate schools can enter the competition.
 
The Leithfield School project leader Nadia Maxwell, a film maker, keen gardener and school parent made a video to support the school's application for the funding.
 
She was overwhelmed by the "amazing turnout" for the working bee.
 
"Every now and then I look up and go wow, this is brilliant," she said on Saturday.
 
The large crowd of volunteers included Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley who said it was an "absolute privilege" to be invited to take part in the working bee.
 
"When I was five-years-old I started growing vegetables. I still do that for my family. You can too," he said. Mr Dalley thanked everyone for their involvement in the project and said he hoped they would spend time in the community space they had helped to create.
 
"Thank you all for looking after your own community," he said.
 
The "bug man" Ruud Kleinpaste, of Halswell, who is a Project Crimson trustee also helped during the day, as did several Mazda Foundation trustees, including chairman Andrew Clearwater who recently retired as Mazda New Zealand's managing director.

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