Planting the Future: Clarkville Students Get Stuck In At Silverstream Reserve

Silverstream Reserve has been a hive of activity recently as dozens of students from nearby Clarkville School get their hands dirty planting native trees and shrubs.

Students With A Native SeedlingThe school has partnered with the Waimakariri District Council and the Silverstream Advisory Committee to help restore the 52 hectare reserve to native bush.  Students unwrap, plant, apply mulch and water hundreds of new seedlings over the course of an afternoon.

Noelene Francis from Silverstream Advisory Committee is one of a small group from who spend their weekends planting and maintaining the reserve and loves seeing the kids getting involved.

“Clarkville School, they’re great.  They come down here on a regular basis and plant and it’s amazing how quick they can get things done“, she said. “The community are so thrilled to see it being developed and how things are growing. We get quite a lot of feedback, so we’re all enthusiastic.”

The students’ planting work is incorporated into their curriculum as part of the school’s Envirotech programme.  Envirotech teacher, Sandra Morgan, says the children look forward to their trips to the reserve and feel proud of the work they’ve done so far.

“They love coming down to Silverstream… A group of kids made up that they were going to have a dirt factory and they set up a chain of workers, so yes, they love it.”

Planting At SilverstreamAnd local residents and parents, Kim Parry and Belinda Stott, are also singing the reserve’s praises.

“It’s great, it’s beneficial, when we come here for walks the kids can see what they’ve done”

 “It’s making the place look way better, this ground is pretty stony and weedy and scrubby, and so by the end of it, it will be looking fantastic.”

The land was originally council owned and planned for forestry use; the community asked that it be instead turned into a native reserve. Dan Cameron oversees Coastal and Native Reserves for the council, he has been working closely with Clarkville School and says it’s exciting to see young people in the district enthused about protecting our environment.

“You embrace the chaos, basically I just say my bit at the start and say, ‘Right, plants are here, tools are here, let’s go for it.’ We’ve got a bunch of them doing the mulch delivery, some of them doing watering, others are making sure the guards are fitted properly… so you get this teamwork and these really cool initiatives coming through, and you can see the future leaders coming through.”

The project has support from the Council, Environment Canterbury and major sponsor MainPower.

“MainPower are really proud to support the programme, which has so many benefits for the kids and volunteer groups involved and will also provide amazing public spaces for the generations to come,” said Emma Hyde, Communications Co-ordinator for MainPower.

Noelene says even with the current support they are always on the look out for more assistance.

“We need people to sponsor us or donate some plants or anything, but also volunteers… anybody who has a little time.”

The Silverstream Reserve project is a massive undertaking, and work is expected to take more than one lifetime.  Dan hopes that in the future, the reserve may grow to have a status similar to that of The Groynes.