Pupils help create native ecosystem

Anama farmer Michael Rushton talks to Mayfield School pupils about the planting of 200 flaxes and...
Anama farmer Michael Rushton talks to Mayfield School pupils about the planting of 200 flaxes and Carex secta at his farm. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Mayfield School pupils have taken their learning of biodiversity out into the field, helping with the planting of 200 flaxes and Carex secta at the farm of Michael and Margaret Rushton, of Anama.

Mayfield School pupils and staff plant natives at the Rushton farm as part of a initiative with...
Mayfield School pupils and staff plant natives at the Rushton farm as part of a initiative with Kanuka Mid Canterbury Regeneration Trust. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
The school’s 80 pupils planted the natives as part of a initiative between Kanuka Mid Canterbury Regeneration Trust, the school and the Rushtons who had received a grant to help fund The Glen Riparian Planting Project; a First Steps initiative between Ashburton District Council and Environment Canterbury.

Mr Rushton said about 6000 plants were due to be planted, over three years, in a 3.2ha block that had been permanently retired from grazing.

The block of land, in a triangle shape, has two natural spring-fed streams that originate from Surrey Hills and some slow seepage understood to be from the nearby Rangitata Diversion Race.

The simplest way to keep stock away from the streams was to fence the area and in time, once the plantings mature, the area would create a pleasing natural vista.

The Rushtons were keen to improve their environmental impact on the soils and improve the quality of the water leaving their block.

"As with most farmers and farm owners, our ultimate goal is to leave our land in a better state than when we took over stewardship," he said.

Mr Rushton said the school pupils were enthusiastic, well mannered and very interested in the project.

"It is our hope that these children, as they grow older, will take pride in being involved with this project right from the start and watch it develop, and understand the benefit that this project will have in creating a whole new native ecosystem.”

Mayfield School principal Richard Kidd said it was fantastic project for the pupils and one they enjoyed.

"They are already asking when we can return to the Rushtons’ farm.”

Kanuka trust educator Lisa Meehan said the trust aimed to connect young people with the community and the environment and the day was the start of a long-term partnership with the school and the planting project.

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