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Treemendous project

Mauriceville School pupils are in the running to win $10,000 to develop an outdoor learning area. PHOTO/ELI HILL

Mauriceville School is one of 10 schools nationally in the running to receive $10,000 towards creating an outdoor learning space.

Last term, the senior class submitted a pun-filled video explaining how they’d create an outdoor learning space to the TREEmendous initiative – run by Mazda and environmental advocacy group Project Crimson.

“We have a grassy patch where there used to be a building which would be a great place for an outdoor learning area,” teacher and organiser Lucy Miller said.

“We’re in the second stage now, and from the 10 there will be four schools chosen for the $10,000 development. To get there we have to submit a plan detailing our ideas.”

Despite having a roll of just 28, the Mauriceville pupils are dreaming big.

One component the pupils are keen on is to build a waterwheel attached to a bicycle so they can pedal to water the gardens.

Other ideas for the space include a tank to collect water from their PE gear shed, and creating a quiet space with benches and tables surrounded by native trees.

But Miller said the pupils are looking for help from the community as they make their plan.

“What the organisers are saying is if we can get discounted native trees and discounted native timber, and if someone in the community that knows about engineering can help, we’ll push that $10,000 as far as we can.

“Even if we don’t win, we’ll have local businesses and gardeners helping us with it so we might get our $10,000 garden anyway.”

The pupils have until October 22 to get their final application in and have already lined up a paint sponsorship from Resene to help brighten the area.

“We really need a landscaper to come and help us because none of us have those skills. A landscaper would really be an asset.

“Any skills can be of use – artists, poets, engineers, bird or insect experts. Food or plant sponsorships are helpful, even just labour to help with the planting and building.”

While there is plenty of work to do, Miller said the pupils were excited and constantly thinking of new ideas that were within their budget.

Year seven pupil Faith Kiernan said that winning would be “amazing”.

“It can get boring in the classroom. It would be great to be outside once in a while, in the fresh air and amongst the native plants.

“We have a tui called Mrs Miller, even though he’s a boy, so it’d be great to plant some more trees for the birds and the insects to go to.”

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