Planting trees, making goals and offsetting carbon footprints

13 May 2019

With a cheeky fantail watching on and some cheery bird song from above, a group of Year 9s today transformed a steep section of the riverbank by the swimming pool with College-raised native plants.

Kirsty Howatson’s Biology class became the first group of 2019 Year 9s to plant a tree to celebrate their start at school – and to offset their carbon footprint.

The boys worked in pairs to dig holes deep enough to cover the roots of a wide range of plants, wielding spades with varying degrees of dexterity, and enthusiastically stamping down the earth afterwards.

But before that happened they dropped their own written goals into the holes, reminders of their aspirations as Year 9s when they come to view the trees in their future years at College and beyond.

The goals they admitted to ranged from trying to be named Head of House, to becoming really good at the guitar, to finishing NCEA in Year 10, to improving at the piano, to trying to think of a goal!

Handling a spade was a novel experience for some, but others, like William Sudell, looked capable. “I’ve just been planting magnolias at home this weekend with Dad.”

The boys planted 25 trees in just 20 minutes as part of an initiative by David Newton and the Environment Committee to see conservation linked to the curriculum in a tangible way. By the end of the year, every Year 9 boy will have planted his goal and his tree on the river bank, in a project which has the makings of a tradition