Kids Discovery Plantout Programme

The Kids Discovery Plant-out programme is a successful collaboration between Te Ara Kākāriki and Enviroschools and has been delivered to schools in the Selwyn District since 2013. The programme was established to allow children in the Selwyn District to interact with nature and provide them with opportunities to make a real difference to the natural spaces they feel connected to.

Students have the opportunity to learn about native biodiversity through taking on a role of tiaki tamariki, caring for their special biodiversity restoration site and together contributing to restoring native ecosystems across the Canterbury Plains.

The Kids Discovery Plant-out programme is coordinated by Lou Drage, Te Ara Kākāriki. With less than 0.5% of native vegetation left on the Canterbury Plains, Lou works with authorities to locate public sites that are suitable for planting habitat for biodiversity. These can include areas in parks and reserves, school grounds and local waterways.

Enviroschools aims to support integration of sustainable practise throughout the school curriculum. During a Kids Discovery Plant-out day students lead action to restore habitat for biodiversity. This action is carried out within the context of their whole school inquiry focus. Teachers share their sustainability focus with an Enviroschools Facilitator. In 2022 areas of focus included water, native habitats, food, the impact of Maori and early European settlers on native biodiversity, community and connections and well-being.

Lou works with the Enviroschools Facilitator to create a bespoke programme of hands-on activities that support this curriculum focus. Activities are led by enthusiastic experts and provide students with opportunities to investigate biodiversity at the site, reflect on and problem solve an issue and create something meaningful to the student.

Activities offered in 2022 included searching for terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, learning about rongoā rakau (native flora herbal preparations), mātauranga raranga, learning the skills to weave harakeke, propagating native seedlings from seeds and monitoring of pests. Activity leaders include Mike Bowie from Lincoln University and Kaumātua Daphne O’Connell from Ngāti Moki marae. These people work hard to increase the student’s knowledge of New Zealand’s special heritage and ways we can all help look after it.

Each autumn a small group of enviro-students return to each site to carry out monitoring. They learn how to calculate plant survival and gauge whether water quality and bird and invertebrate presence has changed. Through monitoring the students can see the positive effects their planting contributes to the local environment as well as gaining skills in observation and recording.

We are extremely grateful for the support of our funders and partners, who allow us to deliver the Kids Discovery Plant-out programme to schools in the Selwyn District.

Schools involved with the Kids Discovery Plantout Programme in 2022:

Ararira Springs –  Darfield High School Darfield Primary – Glentunnel School Ladbrooks School – Leeston Consolidated School – Lincoln Primary School – Lincoln High School – Prebbleton SchoolRakaia SchoolSpringfield School Springston School – Tai Tapu School – Te Rōhutu Whio – Waitaha School – West Melton Primary School

2020 – A milestone year

The 2020 spring planting season marked a special milestone for Te Ara Kākāriki – the planting of the 100,000th tree in the Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway. Glentunnel School students helped Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage, Mayor
Sam Broughton, Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee Chair Les Wanhalla, Environment Canterbury Principal Biodiversity Advisor Frances Schmechel and Coalgate Glentunnel Reserve Management Committee Chair Phillip Shaw plant five special totara to celebrate.

An Award winning programme:

2019 NZ Plant Conservation Network Awards
Winner Schools Category: Kids Discovery Plant-out



2019 Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board Awards
Second Place:  Kids Discovery Plant-out





Crowd Funding – Stackwoods Bend – Halswell/ Huritini River

In December 2016 we launched our first crowd funding campaign with Million Metres Streams followed by a second campaign in 2018. We have now completed three years of planting and are now preparing for our fourth year as part of this project.

We are working with local school Ladbrooks Primary and the wider community to restore Stackwoods Bend, a site along the Halswell / Huritini River. Through Million metres we have raised funds for 400 metres of stream to be planted so far.  We thank all those who contributed to the campaigns so far, keep an eye on this project as we update our progress.

This videos above and below are from our campaigns in 2016 and 2018. They highlight the Kids Discovery Plantout days in action.

In the media:


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