News and Events

Contributing to tributary restoration – Waitahuna students engage in testing and action.

September 28, 2022

An annual event held by Waitahuna School at their local creek provided an opportunity for students to measure change in water quality and continue the commitment to increase natural biodiversity and health of this waterway. It was also the perfect opportunity for new Enviroschools facilitator, Scott Martin, to get to know people in their place and hear about the value of this on-going learning and action. Here, Scott tells us about this event.

Taking samples from the creek to check water quality.

I am the new facilitator in the Clutha District, and I recently spent a lovely day out with one of my Enviroschools, getting to know the teachers and students. This was an amazing day with Waitahuna School, undertaking stream water quality testing with Craig Simpson from the Pomahaka Water Care Group followed by tree planting with John from the Department of Conservation on a section of Bob’s Creek (tributary to Waitahuna River). This is private land and landowner, Ruth McRae, and other local community members helped out with planting as well as providing the hard workers with BBQ sausages for lunch.

“It was wonderful to see the knowledge and pride of the children in this annual special event. They all did a hard day’s mahi and we’re able to ascertain the water quality of Bob’s Creek by gathering data about the insects and the water clarity. This learning is being reinforced back in the school with lessons about erosion and how to support the life in the river.” – Henrica Schieving, Teacher

Sorting macro-invertebrates.

The students got all 150 trees in the ground with protectors installed. Water quality testing indicated this had improved from the previous years. Ruth and the McRae family have kindly and unconditionally opened their land to Waitahuna School and the community, fenced it off to allow for long-term riparian planting to be established on the land for future generations to enjoy and watch grow and develop while protecting and enhancing the quality of the stream and the life it supports.


“It is exciting that we can create an area that the school and children can have an on-going connection to the land, not only during their annual plating and stream quality testing, but into their future and future generations of our community. It’s for the long term.”Ruth McRae, landowner

Ongoing commitment to this project has developed a sense of pride and achievement.

A well planted tree has an even better chance of survival with mulch and protection.









 “It is a great opportunity for the kids to be involved in a project that has great benefits to the community and the environment. It also provides a place the kids can look back on over the years with a sense of pride and achievement.” –  Daryll Reddington, Principal

A selection of native tree species were planted along the riparian margin.

Students distribute the tree protectors for installation.









Student, Mason McLaren, summed up the work ethic and enthusiasm of all the students of Waitahuna School with, “I won’t stop until we have all the trees in the ground.”

Banner image: 150 more plants in the ground.

Article by : Scott Martin, Enviroschools Otago.