Mazda Media Release

August 2020

It was a TREEmendous weekend for Burnside Primary School, which planted more than 700 native plants and shrubs to transform a previously unused area of its grounds into a dedicated outdoor learning space.

Burnside Primary School aims to develop students who instinctively think and act sustainably. It plans to use its new learning space to deliver a high-class science and outdoor education area to further its current curriculum that includes bee studies and honey making, native tree planting, harakeke weaving and Garden to Table.

Over the weekend the school staff, local community members, the Mazda Foundation and the Project Crimson team worked together to plant hundreds of native trees, replant the school’s butterfly garden and build seating for its hui area.

Burnside Primary School was one of four schools selected to win a $10,000 grant towards creating an outdoor learning space this year thanks to TREEmendous, a joint initiative between Project Crimson and the Mazda Foundation.

Matt Bateman, Principal at Burnside Primary School, says it will use the space as a teaching tool to educate students about native trees and animals, as well as an area for students to relax.

“We had several students who were directly affected by the terrorist attack in Christchurch and our community is still recovering from the effects of the earthquakes. Many of our students have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.

“Many of our families have also been affected by financial pressure as a result of job loss due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Being amongst nature has proven to lower stress and anxiety, and this is exactly what our students need,” he says.

Mazda Foundation Chairman David Hodge says the students’ passion to learn about the environment and willingness to get their hands dirty was inspiring.

“With the increasing use of technology and social media, it is so important to teach students about the natural world and their place within it.

“I hope this new outdoor learning area will remind students at Burnside Primary School that they can make a positive difference and help them feel connected to their environment,” he says.

As part of the TREEmendous event the students were treated to a visit by marine scientist Riley ‘The Sharkman’ Elliott, who talked about the importance of caring for our waterways. Ruud ‘The Bugman’ Kleinpaste and his insect friends were also in attendance and taught the students how to protect their butterfly garden over the winter.

After a busy morning of planting, the hungry workers were treated to a BBQ lunch thanks to Avonhead Countdown and Peter Timbs Meat.

Burnside Primary School is the second of four schools to be visited by the TREEmendous team this year, with Roslyn School in Palmerston North up next and finally Hobsonville Point School in Auckland in October. Over the last 12 years, the TREEmendous team has visited more than 50 schools around the country!

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