Opoho School takes care of the Town Belt

4 07 2008

New trees in background, older plants in the foreground.

Mandy and I filmed Opoho School’s annual tree planting effort in their portion of the Town Belt, and what fun it was! We could hear the enthusiastic sound of 60 children from quite a distance before we saw them emerge from a track through the bush that leads from the school to their Town Belt site off Dundas Street. For six years they have removed great piles of rubbish, weeded out nonnatives, planted trees, flax, and native grasses. They have also constructed and maintained a path, and had a bridge built over the stream. (The bridge was paid for by the Amenities Society of Dunedin.) It is amazing what they have done and how much the older plants have grown. Walking along their path through their plants, I see the birds are everywhere.  A coprosma bush along the path is mysteriously shaking and twitching. When I look closer, I see it is filled with tiny silvereyes hiding behind leaves as they pull berries off to eat. A good source of winter food for them.

Lucy tells students how the morning will run.

Lucy tells students how the morning will run.

Opoho School is part of the Enviroschools programme. With the help of the Dunedin City Council, they have looked after this portion of the town belt for six years, initially working with the help of Paul Pope, and now working with Scott Maclean. While we were there, not only did they plant at least 200 trees, they also picked up rubbish, and tested the clarity and turbidity of the stream. An incredible effort and wonderful learning experience for both teachers and students.

Well done, Opoho School!





4 responses

29 07 2008
Paul Denys

Great to see your site publishing the work of Opoho School and the Enviro-School programme. As a family, we have been involved with this work for the last 5-6 years and like to see the integration of the programme with the school curriculum. Our oldest child (since left Opoho School) really enjoyed and benefited from the “tree planting” and community involvement associated with Dundas Bush as well as the “weed pulling” and “litter gathering” activities. He continues to be interested and involved with environmental issues; having recently completed the LandCare Bird Survey.

One aspect that you may like to consider is extending your area of interest from the Town Belt to the greater Dunedin area. A 1 hour travel from Dunedin encompasses a huge variety of bio-diversity.

29 07 2008

Thank you Paul for your feedback. I think it is really cool that your child is still interested in environmental activities. Mandy and I visited Opoho School today to show the children their film and interview a few of them to make a podcast for the blog. So watch this space.


21 02 2009


25 02 2009

Thanks for the enthusiasm Zoe! If you have any suggestions for further entries, let me know.

Our blog is in a “transition” phase now…Mandy has returned to the UK but I am still in Dunedin, and just got back after being away for three months.

Hopefully more to come soon.


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