Friday, 21 June 2024 07:55

Students plant native seedlings

Written by  Gina McKenzie
Swannanoa School students and their parents planted 567 seedlings at Rosemary and Brian and Rosemary Whyte’s North Canterbury farm last month. Swannanoa School students and their parents planted 567 seedlings at Rosemary and Brian and Rosemary Whyte’s North Canterbury farm last month.

A group of year 5 Swannanoa School students saw their yearlong native seedling project come to fruition when they planted their seedlings at Brian and Rosemary Whyte’s Swannanoa farm in North Canterbury last month.

The students have been raising native seedlings in a greenhouse at their school. The greenhouse and plants were provided by Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL) as part of a biodiversity project which aims to enhance and improve ecological values throughout the 44,000ha area covered by the irrigation scheme.

WIL’s biodiversity project lead Dan Cameron says the students were excited to get involved with planting their seedlings and it was positive to see parents join the planting day.

“We have been working together with the school for a couple of years now. The idea is for the students to grow their own seedlings and for them to decide which project they would like to contribute the plants to once they are mature enough to plant out. In this case, we had 160 plants from the school with the remaining 367 plants grown in a greenhouse on Brian and Rosemary’s property.”

Cameron was also heartened to get positive feedback from another WIL shareholder who attended the planting day who indicated interest in holding a similar planting day at their farm.

“The key to the success of this type of project is that farmers can see what their peers are doing and then put up their hand to get involved. The idea is for it to happen locally and organically as it is about farmers and the community working together with the irrigation cooperative to improve the environment for everyone.”

Other local schools involved in the biodiversity improvement project including West Eyreton School and Cust Preschool will be planting their native seedlings at reserves and along riparian margins near Oxford this month.

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