Reporoa Primary scores $10,000 grant

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Reporoa School is one of five schools to receive $10,000 each through the Treemendous School Makeover programme to create its own outdoor education space.

With the high-calibre of this year's entries, five winners instead of the usual four were chosen to take part in the makeovers, a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson Trust.

Reporoa School along with Nelson Central School, Houghton Valley School, Leithfield School and Alexandra Primary School will be transformed in 2017 by the Treemendous team with a native tree planting makeover.

Reporoa School will convert an unused paddock into an outdoor interactive learning habitat with the focal features being a series of pathways that work their way through native plantings and an outdoor learning platform.

Principal Richelle McDonald said the school planned to continue developing the makeover area with an orchard and kai gardens in the future.

"We are a country school with a roll of less than 120 students but that will not stop us from achieving great things, we are so grateful for the huge first step."

Mazda Foundation chairman Andrew Clearwater said next year marked the 10-year anniversary of the Treemendous makeover programme.

"We thought it fitting to break with tradition and throw in an extra school to celebrate. There was also exceptional vision and creativity displayed in the entries which made it hard to choose just four."

The schools will each receive an environmentally-focused outdoor education area for students to explore and foster their environmental awareness.

"Each year we marvel at the aspirations of both students and teachers from around the country as they envisage new and creative ways to enhance their outdoor learning environments. There's something quite heart-warming in seeing our next generation with such appreciation and enthusiasm for the environment," Mr Clearwater said.

The Treemendous team will carry out all five makeovers in 2017.

Joris de Bres, Project Crimson Trust chairman, said it was encouraging to see schools around the country embracing the importance of conservation and outdoor education.

"All of the entries we received this year showcased the creativity and enthusiasm for the environment in schools around the country."

All primary and intermediate schools can apply for a Treemendous School Makeover. Finalists will receive $500 for their school and the winning schools will receive a $10,000 Treemendous School Makeover. Entries will open again in the first term of 2017.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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