The Trees for Survival programme has been in operation at Remuera Intermediate School since 2003. Downtown Rotary sponsored the original Plant Growing Unit and also provide ongoing support funding potting mix, seedlings and supplies. Over the past 12 years RI students have planted more than 8000 native trees on ‘at risk’ land in the Auckland Region to help prevent erosion and improve water quality.
Remuera Intermediate received a Kowhai Award 2013 and in 2014 tied for second place in the nationwide Holyoake Award. In 2014 we also had the top student in the country, Juliette McDonald who received the Ross McKay Award for her dedication and hard work towards the programme.
A particular class usually has responsibility for growing and nurturing between 800 and 1000 plants in a given year. The class picks out new seedlings to plant into root trainers then, when they have grown, pots them in to larger bags. This is done cyclically each year, the previous year group preparing the plants for the next year’s planting day.
Every year the chosen class has a planting day during which they travel to an Auckland planting site by bus, sponsored by the Downtown Rotary Club. The planting site is chosen by Auckland Council for a variety of reasons. It may be to prevent erosion or to provide a filter to improve water quality of nearby streams and waterways.
The students and parent volunteers usually plant around 1000 trees throughout the course of the day. After the physical work and fresh air, the farmer then provides a hearty lunch for all the students and volunteers. It is a very satisfying day.
The Trees for Survival programme gives students hands on learning, introducing them to gardening and educates them about New Zealand native plants, the role trees play in our environment and how we can, and should, look after our environment so future generations can appreciate the natural beauty New Zealand has to offer.