Gaining ground with weeding and planting on Raglan peninsular

Raglan Area School/ Te Kura A Rohe O Whāingaroa has been making big leaps forward in an effort to restore the school peninsula, Hao Kotare, to native bush, with help from local community organisations Xtreme Zero Waste and Whāingaroa Weedbusters.

The gorse keeps growing but these weedbusters are determined to control it!

About 50 students were involved in weedbusting through the winter months of 2021, removing invasive plants from around the school grounds. Some students  gained valuable NCEA credits through their involvement in this project for weeding, nursery work, growing plants from cuttings and planting trees. These range from level 1-3 NCEA.

The school and community have a vision to restore this special piece of land to native coastal ngahere. There is also quite a large area which is used for school camps and public access via the Kaitoke walkway to and from the estuary.

To aid the restoration process, a full day Arbor Day event was held in June 2021, involving over 200 students of all ages (years 1-13). Approximately 180 trees were planted and mulched during the day. The trees planted had been grown from seeds or cuttings in the school nursery by Raglan Area School horticulture students.

Native plants are nestled into the ngahere.

Students also got a taste of the weedbusting. This was an absolute hit, and many of the students chose to do this work over planting the trees! A large skip had been delivered to the school field by Xtreme Zero Waste, and as the day progressed it was filled to overflowing with weeds that had been removed from the peninsular area. The skip was funded by Whāingaroa Weedbusters, along with some professional arborist work to take out some larger, undesirable trees. The weeds will all be put through the Hot Composting Unit at Xtreme Zero Waste and turned into nutritious compost for the Raglan community to use in their gardens.

“With this community support, we are feeling more empowered to continue our work of growing our own native trees in the nursery, clearing our spaces of pest plants, and getting the students involved as much as possible. The pest plants we have been clearing are woolly nightshade, tree privet, climbing asparagus, pampas, wild blackberry, Cotoneaster, Japanese spindle tree, wattle, gorse, wild ginger, Pinus radiata, and Agapanthus.” – Angela Prain, Science & Horticulture teacher

This is an ongoing project that is integrated into Raglan Area School curriculum – a great example of using local contexts for Environmental Education for Sustainability.