Fairton School plants native reserve


Fairton School pupils recently got stuck in planting a variety of native plants in a paddock next to their school.

Kanuka Mid Canterbury Regeneration Trust supported by Advance Ashburton facilitated a partnership between the Talley’s Group, who own the land, Fairton School and the wider community to transform the land into a native reserve.

It is hoped the native plants will add to the local ecosystem with birds, insects and lizards expected to be attracted to the area once the plants are established.

The initiative is part of Kanuka Trust’s goal to protect and improve Mid Canterbury’s native plants and ecosystems.

Kanuka Trust founding trustee Angela Cushnie said the area will be split into sections, and the school pupils will learn as the plants grow.

‘‘We are creating pathways through the gardens, and an open space in the middle which will be an outdoor classroom, so the kids will be able to monitor the lizards the butterfly’s the native bugs and the birds that will come here,’’ she said.

One of the trusts pillars is ‘planting for purpose’, she said.

‘‘So we plant for food, we plant for shelter, but also we plant for nature, so making sure the right plants are in the right place.

‘‘Next to us we have arable farmland, here will be natives, and a vege patch next door so they serve lots of different purposes and to bring that to people’s attention is really important.’’

Christchurch based native restoration business Brailsfords supplied the plants for planting and will support the school over the years as the natives grow.

Owner Steve Brailsford said understanding plants is important.

‘‘Understanding how to develop plant communities, rather than just putting natives in, we are putting in about 30 different species, a gecko and lizard habitat, shrubland and dry woodland.’’

He enjoys seeing children develop an interest in natives and the environment.

‘‘If we start with primary kids who live in an environment with hedges and pine trees… teaching them about plant communities, and that natives combine together to provide resources for the environment.’’

By Daniel Tobin