Koputaroa School are contributing to Dan and Kushla Okano's ambition of turning 6 hectares of their property back into a permanent reserve.

On Friday they planted 2000 native trees and shrubs.

Dan, Kushla and the teachers are hoping the experience of planting and giving back to the environment might spark something in the children that would be the beginning of a lifelong desire to protect the environment.

After partnering with Horizons Regional Council, Dan and Kushla had been able to take action, converting the area into native bush.

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Dan said, "It's exciting it's all happening now."

He said every night for the past year he has been doing possum control. At the start there were possums everywhere. Since he's started he caught 30 of them.

Koputaroa School pupils and Horizons Regional Council staff as well as staff from Plimmer Plumbers planted 20,000 trees and shrubs.
Koputaroa School pupils and Horizons Regional Council staff as well as staff from Plimmer Plumbers planted 20,000 trees and shrubs.

The couple have seen an increase in birds like ducks, pukeko and pheasants, to name a few, and the birds have started having chicks.

Horizons' freshwater and partnerships manager Logan Brown said a lot of the water life is "migratory" and that the streams close the coast are often full of native fish because of it.
He said that 80-90 of the fish's food come from trees and other plants that hang over the stream.

Currently there are 14 species of native fish in the stream that runs through the couple's property, a few being endangered. A lot of flora and fauna on the property is considered endangered.

Kushla said, "They don't exist anywhere else in the world."

"I can't sit by and watch as species become extinct."

After some research Dan and Kushla discovered their property was her family's ancestral land. All the more reason for her to want to look after it.

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This time next year the school's children will get the opportunity to go back to see the trees they have planted. They will be able to see what differences there are such whether there is a change in the stream.

Logan said it would take up to 15 years for the planting to create a canopy over the stream. Eventually the children who began planting last week will be able to bring their children to show them what a difference the planting of a few trees can make.

• Emily Snell, a Horowhenua College student, was on work experience at the Horowhenua Chronicle last week.