Revamp for Whangara wetland,School children plant natives as part of restoration
AN outdoor classroom is being created opposite Whangara School and Kindergarten.
The wetland is being restored with native plants, and is part of Whangara Farms, on Whangara B5 land, and has been fenced off and retired as part of their Land Environment Plan. The wetland will be used by the school and community as a nature reserve and outdoor classroom.
Whangara School principal Lisa Maniapoto said the wetland was called Koti mutu.
“For many years, we have tried to integrate this special place repo (wetland) into our strong environmental focus in our curriculum.We are very excited that the tamariki and community are able to be part of creating a special place where we can all be kaitiaki, and take care of the living birds, animals and plants. A place where our tamariki can get even closer to this environment.”
The project has been developed through Whangara Farms partnering with Charitable Trust Project Crimson and their programme Trees That Count, to supply 1000 native trees going in the ground this season.
Trees That Count East Coast regional advisor Stephanie Gardner said the goal was to restore the 4.3ha wetland back to native vegetation, and in turn restore the habitat for native species.
“Pest control of both plants and animals will be imperative to create a functioning habitat for our native species. The wetland will provide an incredible nature reserve for the local community, and it is fantastic that the Whangara School and Kindergarten can immerse themselves in this unique learning environment, with the children growing alongside our native trees and other species.”
Last month, Whangara Farms staff along with students and teachers from Whangara School, students from the Enviroschools programme including Gisborne Boys’ High School and Gisborne Girls’ High School, along with Mrs Gardner, came together for the first planting day, where 800 native trees, shrubs, and grasses were planted around the wetland.
Whangara Farms Pakarae manager Robbie Love gave the students insights into the Whangara Farms operations and vision, and Whangara local Jay Love spoke of the importance of the wetland and its restoration to the whanau and community.
Mrs Gardner and enviroschools coordinator Kirsty Gaddum also spoke to the students about native tree planting and the significance of restoring dwindling wetland habitats.
Mrs Gardner said the project was significant due to the scarcity of wetlands left in our landscape.
“Many of our endangered native plants and animals totally depend on wetland habitats for their survival.”
Robbie Love said Whangara Farms are committed to implementing their Land Environment plans and will continue this project over the next couple of planting seasons until the entire wetland is planted in natives. They also plan to begin planting the rivers located within the farms such as the Pouawa and Waiomoko rivers with native species. They have also recently retired 400ha of marginal coastal land on Pakarae A.
Funding for free native trees from Trees That Count is open to everyone.
— For more information on native tree restoration funding from Trees That Count, and to apply for free trees online, visit www.treesthatcount.co.nz or contact East Coast regional adviser Stephanie Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Whangara Farms is a partnership made up of three Maori incorporations, Whangara B5, Pakarae & Tapuwae Whitiwhiti. The total farming area is 8300ha and runs approximately 75,000 stock units of sheep and beef. These farms can never be sold so the environment and sustainability are very important.