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Environment Group news

Jon Land —

Despite the Covid disruption plantings have continued in Te Uru and Jellie Park.

It has been a difficult year but the work of the Environment Group has continued and our forests are thriving. La Ninā's influence has led to Easterly air flows, cooler weather and increased rainfall all of which have been a blessing for our plantings. The students have shown resilience and our dedicated members have helped to keep up the momentum as we extend our native corridor into Jellie Park or Te Uru iti (the little Te Uru) as we prefer to call it. With Wednesday school being centered around home learning we have split the group and the Seniors now meet on a Tuesday and the Juniors on Thursday. It is such a pleasure to work with so many fine students and we have been able to do valuable planting and continued maintenance. The City Council and Trees for Canterbury have once more supported our work with free native plants and we thank them for their generosity. Four Season Tree care have also provided free mulch which is the secret of success when establishing new plantings. Our original forest is now ten years old and with a developing canopy we can plant a wonderful array of native plants into the under-story. Putaputāwētā (marble leaf), kāpuka (broadleaf), pōkākā, and horoeka (lancewoods) have all been very successful. We are also using logs from recent arborist work on the grounds to provide habitat for the bugs, mark out our tracks and give shelter for our baby seedlings from the busy and ever present blackbirds. This year we have potted up hundreds of seedlings from the native trees on the school's grounds and this should give us plenty of plants to fill our forests in the coming months. Thanks to Tania Gilchrist we have a nice new Maori name for the group. Ngā kaitiaki o Te Uru which means the guardians of our forest. We hope to live up to our name despite all the challenges that Covid has thrown at us this year. We hope our local community is enjoying our work and watching our forests grow.