Pupils help out at wetland

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Growing Knowledge . . . Hokonui Runanga environmental liasion Riki Parata talks to Longford Intermediate pupils about weeding and planting out at the Hokonui Runanga last week. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Longford Intermediate pupils gave back to the community by lending a helping hand at the Hokonui Runanga last week.

The project encouraged pupils to help with the maintenance of the wetland area which had more than 700 trees planted in memory of the late kaumata Rewi Anglem last year.

The initiative, which began last year, was part of the Te Uru Rakau, Forestry New Zealand’s One Billion Trees Programme.

Activities pupils were involved with last week included weeding around existing trees and replacing dead trees with new native ones.

About 45 pupils took part in the day.

The initiative was supported by the school, the Hokonui Runanga and Graeme Dingle Foundation Southland Kiwi Can organisation.

Kiwi Can co-ordinator Jennifer Jaques said the day was a success.

“The children responded really well to the task, had fun, and showed excellent teamwork.”

It was important to provide this hands-on experience for the children as it demonstrated values of care for the long-term sustainability of the local environment, she said.

Hokonui Runanga environmental liaison Riki Parata helped to show the pupils how to weed and plant the trees.

It was good to have the pupils out on the site, he said.

“It is great to have them involved with outdoor activities and it went really, really well.

“They did a good job and we look forward to seeing them in another year.”

Longford Intermediate teacher Nicola Millar said pupils were enthusiastic and engaged.

“They were eager to do the mahi and worked a solid three to four hours.”

The day was the perfect opportunity to unite different community organisations, she said.