On Friday, 24 July twenty one enthusiastic Eco-Warriors took part in a tree planting event over at Mangemangeroa Reserve.

The event was organised and led by Ella from the Gecko Trust and Cate and Frazer from Sustainable Schools. Three local schools took part: Cockle Bay Primary, Howick College and Somerville Intermediate. We even had a university student (local school alumni) join us.


We started the day by helping transfer the carex plants across to the plant site. Ella taught us how to plant “like a ninja”. Then equipped with spades, gloves and a bucket load of enthusiasm, we set about our task. The Eco-Warriors worked in small groups, often with students from other schools. It was amazing to see the younger students working with the intermediate and college age students. The older ones got alongside and took them under their wing.


First the older students dug the holes, then removed the carex plants from their pots. After placement in the hole, the soil was replaced and patted down. With carefully calculated spacing, the newly planted carex plants will form a natural buffer to help shield the manuka trees. Altogether we planted five hundred carex plants in total.


After lunch, Ella took us on an ecological health survey of the reserve. We assessed whether Mangemangeroa is ecologically healthy by trying to observe a range of indicators. We saw birds, insects, plants and abiotic features. Did you know that Mangemangeroa has rats, mice, possums and even stoats? The Head Boy at Howick, Ethan, (also a former Somerville student) organises a small team of year thirteen students who set and clear the traps on a regular basis.


The advantage of our school being located right next to Mangemangeroa is that we were able to explore a little longer after the others had departed. We walked the pathway down to Shelley Beach and learned about bees by visiting some beehives.


It was a tired, yet satisfied group of students who returned to school at the end of the day; our legs were fatigued and our muscles ached. Yet, we all had an awesome time and learnt a lot throughout the day. Many students stated how much fun they had had; the smiles on their faces testified to the memories created.

Mr Read would like to thank David and Caitlin, our two adult helpers for their assistance and the wonderful team from Gecko Trust and Sustainability Schools. It was a privilege to be part of this tree plant.