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An example of that is a nearby stream pupils had adopted as a pet project to monitor and improve water quality.
Mr Mooney was at the Teviot Valley school to meet children and staff and hear about the pupils’ projects.
They showed Mr Mooney an exhibition of colourful paintings, Matariki lanterns and 3-D models of backcountry huts. Senior pupils then took him on a tour of native plantings at the stream.
Mr Mooney was impressed to see the community values and practical learning being instilled in the children.
"This was a really amazing example of the strength of our smaller rural schools and the incredible experience they give to kids," he said.