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Newsletter • Issue 14 • August 2010

One million trees for Trees for Survival! Early in June the one millionth tree within the Trees for Survival programme was planted at Kawakawa Bay, just south of Auckland. This major milestone marks the culmination of 20 years during which school children throughout New Zealand have been growing and planting native trees under the banner of this TfS initiative. Eighteen Pakuranga College students, supported by staff, the Rotary Club of Pakuranga and a number of special guests worked solidly on a spectacular day to plant 1,000 trees which included a special celebration on the occasion of planting the millionth tree. Plantings adjacent to a small bush remnant on this Kawakawa Bay property over the last two years will secure the steeply sloping coastal hillside against erosion while also reducing the runoff which causes the silting up of streams and estuaries in the region. Landowner George Richardson fenced off the land being planted and has worked tirelessly to prepare the site. George will take care of the growing plants by regular weeding and protecting them from pests. Dianne Glenn, ARC Councillor and Chair of the ARC Environmental Management Committee, presented the students with certificates commemorating the event. She complimented everyone for their efforts in planting trees to preserve the

Councillor Glenn and a Pakuranga College student proudly display the commemorative certificate; at right a very precious tree – the 1,000,000th under the TfS programme

environment and paid a particular tribute to the volunteers participating in the TfS programme. TfS Patron, the Bugman Ruud Kleinpaste spoke about the “added value” over and above reducing erosion and improving water quality. He said that by planting TfS trees young people were contributing far more than “pieces of paper which represent carbon credits” since they are also restoring and maintaining “a priceless New Zealand asset – our biodiversity”. However, planting one million trees under the TfS programme is simply the beginning. The aim is to encourage more school children and their communities to plant more trees, so that young New Zealanders can have ownership of the work they do to preserve our native plant and animal heritage for future generations.

Trees for survival Champions

Message from the Trust Chairman, Don Bowater Trees for Survival was launched in 1991 as a ‘national revegetation’ programme focusing on erosion control. School children were encouraged to learn about native trees, grow and then plant them on erosion prone land thus reducing runoff and thereby improving water quality in streams. The focus on children learning about native trees remains, but the reasons for planting trees have been extended to bush and wetland restoration, riparian and forest remnant plantings, while some schools have even restored populations of threatened native plants. A feature of the programme is that it creates community partnerships by engaging not only schools and landowners but also service clubs, regional and local councils, business sponsors and volunteers who work together to protect our environmental heritage. >> Continues on page 4

The crucial role of TfS sponsors Together with the Trees for Survival Champions, our community partners and supporters play a vital role keeping the day-to-day TfS activities going at grass roots level. The TfS programme involves using Plant Growing Units (PGUs) as a focus for educational and environmental action. Funding for the PGU must be sourced, generally through a PGU sponsor. A school sponsor funds the provision of supplies and equipment by way of an annual programme fee. We are pleased to announce that some new sponsors have recently recognised the many educational and environmental benefits for schools by supporting them into the TfS programme. ASB Bank is providing PGU and school support for Otara’s Wymondley Road School and Omanu School in Tauranga, and has become a school sponsor for

Northland’s Kamo High School. ASB Chief Community Partnership Offer Linley Wood says the bank threw its support behind the programme because it demonstrates long term benefits for local communities, “we believe educating children on the importance of preserving our environment, while planting trees that future generations will come to enjoy, is hugely beneficial for our communities. We are very pleased to be involved in this wonderful community initiative.” Paul Castle of Tileworks, which specialises in ceramic tile importation and installation, heard about the TfS programme at the same time as he was seriously thinking about how he might

in some small way “do something for the environment”. The outcome was a call to TfS national office and a commitment to sponsor the annual programme fee for the local Michael Park School in Ellerslie. Beacon Pathway is a consortium which works to find affordable ways to make New Zealand homes more resourceefficient, cheaper to run, healthier to live in – and kinder to our environment. Their recent conference resolved to become a PGU and School sponsor of a Wellington school, new to TfS and yet to be identified. This will be the second school supported by Beacon Pathway; several years ago they introduced Avondale College in Auckland. Trees for Survival and the schools involved are most appreciative of the support provided by these and other sponsors.

The perils of phosphate All living things need phosphate, particularly to make DNA – the basic hereditary material of life. Phosphate exists as ions in the soil water at very low concentrations. The sort of concentration you would get by stirring five dessertspoons of phosphate into a Olympic size swimming pool. At such low concentrations a plant has to go about finding phosphates in the same way you find mushrooms in a large paddock – it has to find and selectively pick out the individual phosphate ions, then pop them into its ‘bucket’, which is a thin phospholipid membrane completely surrounding the cells of the root tissues. Embedded in this membrane are powerful pumps, specialised enzymelike proteins called ‘transporters’, which can seize the phosphate, and drag it through the membrane into the cell using energy and oxygen. The country was once largely very phosphatedeficient. But more recently the widespread use of phosphate fertilisers in agriculture has made the runoff feeding the rivers and lakes much more phosphate-rich than it used to be and the algal life has burgeoned. The waters are said to have become ’eutrophic’, meaning they have become rich in nutrients and algal life.

Issue 14 • August 2010

Oligotrophic waters are well oxygenated; whereas in eutrophic waters, the abundant algae when they die, sink and rot, can completely use up all the oxygen in the deeper water, causing the anaerobic stink that is

The ability of cells to drag phosphate out of the soil water gives us a tool to slow down the pollution of our lakes and rivers. so offensive. This is why mineral nutrients, particularly the phosphate that is poured into the waterways causing eutrophication, is just as damaging as the organic matter causing pollution. Nitrogen is an important player in eutrophication, but phosphate is the king. If you can stop phosphate entry, you’ve done by far the major part of the job of cleaning up our waterways. Planting a buffer zone of trees and shrubs in the gullies draining farms and around the waterways, using their pumps to sieve the

phosphate out of the soil water before it flows into the waterway is one way to help clean up the waterways. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start, and it is one where the TfS programmes and planting trees have a vital part to play. * Thanks are due to TfS Life Member Rod Bieleski for source material used in the preparation of this article

This is the first item of a series which will look at some of the less well known roles of trees in the environment. Later newsletters will address the roles of nitrogen, water, carbon dioxide, oxygen and sunlight. Trees for Survival teachers can use this item to launch student investigations into pollution of waterways, mineral cycles, riparian and wetland plantings or on a more complex level the nature of membranes and the role of phosphates in living things.

Where the action is… Mid to late winter is, for Trees for Survival schools, the climax of their year. It is the time when the trees they have cared for and nurtured are finally planted on their allocated site. Natives are planted on eroding slopes to help control erosion and reduce runoff; on the banks of creeks and streams to regulate water flow and improve water quality; on forest edges and adjacent to bush remnants as revegetation projects. These plantings not only improve the quality of the landscape but they also have considerable impact on native biodiversity and carbon sequestration. These schools planting 800 plus seedlings a year are making a real impact. Plantings by TfS schools are taking place all over the country and at the same time children are learning just how important trees are for our future survival!

Recent planting days around the country are illustrated with children from St. Patrick’s School Te Awamutu; Bellevue School Tauranga; Point View School; Clevedon School; Epuni School.

TfS works with Environment Centre There are up to a dozen Environment Centres around New Zealand which facilitate, motivate and inform both existing and new groups within the community to – • take action for the environment, • provide environmental information and education services for the community, • act as a focus and meeting place for community action. Trees for Survival is working with the Tauranga Environment Centre, to promote local TfS objectives. Earlier this year, the centre’s Biodiversity Coordinator, Lydia Hale, took on the role of TfS Field Officer, helping co-ordinate Tauranga schools. Lydia has made significant progress meeting teachers and students while working with Aquinas College, Bellevue School, Bethlehem College, Gate Pa School, Maungatapu School, Tauranga Girls College, Rudolf Steiner School, Te Akau ki Papamoa Primary School and Omanu School. She is conscious of the vital role that local Rotary Clubs can play in ensuring the full participation of her schools in the TfS programme by providing (or organising) funding for both PGUs and annual fees. Lydia says, “This critical support cannot be over-emphasised.” David English, TfS National Manager, acknowledges that people like Peter

Wayman, Manager of Palmers Gardenworld in Tauranga (member of the Rotary club of Tauranga TePapa), are dedicated to planting trees to restore our landscape and supporting environmental education of our young children so that society in the future, will not need to face denuded and sterile environments. David says, “As a result of community leadership from Ian Wilson, Rotary Club Chairman of the Kopurererua Valley Centennial Trust, TfS has a truly significant role in supporting Tauranga Schools to grow and plant native trees in the valley.” “It is vital,” Peter Wayman comments, “that the trees we grow and plant out are healthy and survive long term. To achieve this, children need to learn good horticultural practice, have access to appropriate materials and equipment. Through their teachers and support personnel they can learn the importance of trees in their environment.” Any group or business wanting to get in behind this incredibly worthwhile project in Tauranga should contact Lydia Hale for further information at Environment Centres in other parts of the country would be welcomed to work with TfS and their communities in order to achieve the TfS educational and environmental objectives in their areas.

Holyoake Awards 2010 Each year these awards are made to schools which, in the opinion of the assessors, best implement the Trees for Survival programme. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places are $600, $300 and $100 respectively and it is hoped these funds will assist the winning schools to provide additional programme resource. All registered TfS schools are eligible for the awards sponsored by Holyoake Industries. The assessment covers student involvement, teacher commitment, community engagement, landowner liaison, curriculum implementation as well as the use and care of the Plant Growing Unit or shade house. This year the assessors will be particularly interested in how many healthy plants have been grown and made ready for planting. Therefore schools are encouraged to send us this information by email to, simply including the number and names of plants that have been planted. The result will be announced in the next TfS Newsletter in early November.

Issue 14 • August 2010

>> Continues from page 1 Tree planting to restore our erosion prone hillsides, damaged wetlands and putrid streams is well documented. Through the TfS programme, New Zealand children will make sure the mistakes of the past will not be repeated in the future. But to do this we need the ongoing support from our partners in the community. Don Bowater, Chairman of Trees for Survival Trust, For schools, we need to provide gets down to the planting Plant Growing Units and also funding business. support from school sponsors to ensure supplies, materials and equipment. In addition, people are needed to assist the children to meet their annual planting targets. Business, service clubs, like Rotary, and organisations such as stream care and land care groups can all make a valuable contribution in this area. Today, with the ever increasing focus on sustainable activities, TfS is a great opportunity for local businesses and other organisations to contribute towards preserving our environment. TfS Field Officers play a vital role supporting teachers and learners in schools by providing help and guidance. The Field Officers also facilitate the liaison between schools and their sponsors. For years this communication was done by volunteers but this is no longer the most effective and efficient way to maintain the programme nationwide. This is where corporates and large businesses can make a real difference by assisting as Trees for Survival Champions thereby ensuring schools in all regions of New Zealand have access to expert help and guidance through the Field Officer network. Imagine the profile your enterprise would get by having your name associated with the area Field Officer putting your product or service in front of your future potential customers? Anyone interested in providing funding assistance to TfS should contact our National Manager by calling 09 5261561 or email

TfS sponsors and supporters We sincerely thank the following for their assistance and donations: The Sustainable Management Fund, Boeing Environmental Fund, NZ Steel, Parkland Products, Watercare Services Ltd, Tetra Pak (NZ) Ltd, Purebread Organics, Mercury Energy and Holyoake Industries. Trees for Survival acknowledges the ongoing support received from local councils including Auckland Regional Council, Environment Waikato, Environment Bay of Plenty, Tauranga City Council, Horizons Regional Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Taranaki Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council. Trees for Survival also acknowledges the Rotary Clubs of New Zealand who support one or more schools to enable them to learn about trees and to grow and plant them on ‘at risk’ land.


PO Box 11836, Ellerslie, Auckland 1542 • Ph: 09 526 1561 Fax: 09 526 1563 • Email: • Web: Application forms to apply to become a TfS school can be downloaded from

Issue 14 • August 2010

The structure of Trees for Survival Trees for Survival is a community partnership which encourages children to learn about native plants by growing and planting them to support local revegetation projects. Our partners include schools, local councils, Rotary Clubs of NZ, landowners, champions and sponsors. Patrons Bill Boyd Rob Fenwick CNZM, KStJ Ruud Kleinpaste Trustees Don Bowater (Chairman) Noel Holyoake Bill Boyd Mark Dean Geoff Shapland Peter Taylor Warren Edwards David English National Committee David English (Chairman) Ann Batten Warren Edwards John Guthrie Gavin Healy Mark Iles Peter Mundell Richard Purchase Jo Ritchie Peter Taylor Ian Willetts Newsletter Editor Robin Beckett TfS Schools (Registered) (recently joined school shown in bold) ACG Strathallan Albany Primary School Aquinas College Ararimu School Ardmore School Auckland Girls’ Grammar School Avondale College Avondale Intermediate Awhitu District School Bethlehem College Bucklands Beach Intermediate Bucklands Beach Primary School Buckland School (Pukekohe) Clevedon School Cosgrove School Dilworth School Diocesan School For Girls Edgewater College Ellerslie Primary School Epuni School Gate Pa School Glenbrook School Glendowie Primary School Hunua School Kaipara Flats School Kamo High School Kawerau South School Mahurangi College Maraetai Beach School Matakana School Matipo Road School Maungatapu School Meadowbank School

Mellons Bay School Michael Park School Mission Heights Junior College Moturoa School Mt Richmond School Murrays Bay School Nayland Primary School Newlands College Northcote Intermediate Omanu School One Tree Hill College Orakei School Orewa College Otahuhu College Otahuhu Intermediate Owairoa School Pakiri School Pakuranga College Pakuranga Intermediate Papakura Normal School Paparimu School Papatoetoe High School Patumahoe Primary School Pinehill School Point View School Ponsonby Primary School Pukekohe East School Pukekohe High School Ranui Primary School Remuera Intermediate Rudolf Steiner School (Tauranga) St Cuthbert’s College (Epsom) St Francis School (Thames) St Kentigern College (Pakuranga) St Kentigern Primary School (Remuera) St Patrick’s Catholic School (Te Awamutu) St Peter’s College (Epsom) Swanson Primary School Takapuna Grammar School Takapuna Normal Intermediate Tapora School Tauranga Girls’ College Te Akau ki Papamoa Primary School Te Atatu Intermediate Te Karaka School Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Nga Maungarongo Te Waotu School Thames South School Verran Primary School Victoria Avenue School Waiau Pa School Waikanae School Waikowhai Intermediate Waipipi School Waiterimu School Waiuku College Wymondley Road School

TfS Newsletter - August 2010  

Issue 3: 2010

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