Students grow highway oaks

 Kids hands in acorn tray with potting mix

September 9 2014. School children are having a hand in greening the environment alongside a new expressway.

The students at Tamahere Model Country School have been going through a lot of potting mix, after planting up 1200 - 1500 acorns in seedling trays.

Some of those acorns that grow into oaks will be planted out along the Cambridge section of the Waikato Expressway. Locations are yet to be confirmed but will likely include the Pickering pond and the Victoria Road Interchange, which will be the gateway to Cambridge.

The Cambridge section is due for completion in 2016. With a target finishing date of 2019, the Waikato Expressway will provide continuous divided four-lane highway from Auckland to southern Waikato. It will be 102 km long.

Other schools involved in expressway planting are Hautapu School, Te Miro School and Cambridge Primary School. Children at these locations are growing native plants for the project.

Tamahere principal Waveney Parker says Cambridge is known for its oak trees.

“When we heard how many trees had to be removed for the expressway and how many oaks were needed for replanting, we were excited to become part of the project.” 

As an Enviroschool, Tamahere is always looking for ways to give back to the environment, she says.

“We also chose to grow oak trees because we have a number of magnificent oaks on our school property and the acorns rain down on classroom roofs. We are always trying to come up with creative ideas to deal with our many acorns.” 

Older students helped young ones on the potting up day, and students also took photos of the experience. The plan next year is for students to make a field trip to plant out their oak seedlings.

Appropriately, the school motto is “Nurturing Our Future – Growing Together Kia atawhai aa mua – Kia tipu ngatahi”.

Waveney says: “This is a local project that our students will be able to watch grow and be a part of for many years to come.”

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