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Kids buzzing over garden

OVER the past few months Waikirikiri School’s bee-friendly sensory garden has expanded into other environmental projects.

Earlier this year, the school received funding from Countdown’s Growing for Good grant to create their own garden.Enviro teacher Tui Foster said the grant was instrumental in establishing a band of native trees that will attract bees in front of the school deck, and provide colours and textures for the sensory element of the garden.“The funding covered the cost of a planter box, compost, seeds and plants,” Ms Foster said.“Students, teachers, whanau and parents have become engaged in the project.“One class is in the process of making pallet furniture and other classes have created art pieces from recycled materials to complement the garden.A group of students entered a cross-school Enviroschools Masterchef challenge.“They were required to use at least five ingredients from their school garden,” Ms Foster said.“They won best main dish category with a recipe for mini basil and tomato quiches.”Students have sown seeds to ensure that they have a continuous supply of herbs, flowers and vegetables.“At the beginning of the project there was a sparse area which has now been transformed into several interest areas. “There is now a corner with a beautiful flowering climber to attract bees, and a passionfruit vine to provide fruit and also camouflage the steel fence.“The Women’s Native Tree Project Trust has donated over 100 native trees to go alongside the fence at the school’s front entrance.“We have also been given citrus trees that will provide more fruit and become part of the ecological area.“The students have also used their experiences to develop a bee-friendly area at Sisterson Lagoon, by planting native trees that attract bees.“They have contacted a local beekeeper who will place beehives at the school and the wetland.“We would like to express our gratitude to Countdown and the Growing for Good grant for facilitating the development of our bee-friendly sensory garden,” Ms Foster said.The school has also received funding from the 0-I NZ Environmental fund to put towards purchasing two birdbaths and funds from Eastland Port for propagating native trees.

WAIKIRIKIRI SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT: Noel Te Pou showing off some sage the school has grown with from left, Joseph Barbarich, Tepakanga Collier, Phoenix Biddle, Heaven Ngatoko and Rianna Semmens-Pokai showing off the bee-friendly sensory garden. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell