Y9_planting_trees_2018_3On Tuesday, 24 July the Year 9 students and four staff set off for the Himatangi Bush Scientific Reserve to assist Abi Wightman and her DoC associates make a difference to the environment and to ensure sustainability for the future in our own small way. No-one knew if the weather would hold, but all the enthusiastic students arrived ready in gumboots and eager to get stuck in. After a quick talk and demonstration by Abi and her staff, the students were divided into groups covering different areas of the reserve to start planting their seedlings. Because the ground loses water quickly and to ensure that the plants survived, the students added a water-based gel into the ground before adding a nutrient-rich pellet. They then compacted the soil and added the plant. Animals and insects love feeding on the young seedlings, so each had a piece of carpet placed under it, with an added sturdy plastic protection around the plant against the ravages of the wind, rabbits and insects.

The staff of Mr Rashleigh, Mr Cornford, Mr Ferreira and Mr Tyrrell also seemed to enjoy working outdoors for the day and together with the students, planted 423 new seedlings!

Y9_planting_trees_2018_2Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink and provide a habitat to over 80% of the world’s biodiversity. Forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in one-quarter of all medicines. Ever taken an Aspirin? It comes from the bark of a tree!

Trees help cool the planet by sucking in and storing harmful greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, into their trunks, branches, and leaves, and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. In cities, trees can reduce overall temperature by up to eight degrees Celsius. With more than 50% of the world’s population living in cities—a number expected to increase to 66% by the year 2050—pollution and overheating are becoming a real threat. Fortunately, trees can absorb up to 150 kg of carbon dioxide per year, making cities a healthier, safer place to live.

Marie Carter,
Special Educational Needs Coordinator, Subject Teacher: Social Studies, SPEC, Maths