Bees and butterflies move into their new school home

21 Dec 2017

Ruakaka School’s Envirogroup leaders Jeremy Meadows (pictured) and Jennifer Hay have helped the children create a new area for bees and butterflies.About 80 children from Ruakaka School’s Envirogroup and junior and middle teams have recently celebrated the completion of Honey Meadow – a specially created area for bees and butterflies in their schoolgrounds.

 With $700 from the Northland Regional Council’s Environmental Leaders Fund (ELF), they have built garden boxes, planted them with plants and seeds beloved by bees and butterflies, and installed and decorated two plywood butterfly houses.

 Now that the hard work is done, the whole school is enjoying the new garden and the benefits it brings, including more bees that feed on the plants and have already taken-up residence in the school’s nearby beehive.

 There are more butterflies enjoying their five-star resort as well, flitting among the carefully chosen plants and landing on a basking stone where they can rest and enjoy the sun.

 Cr Rick Stolwerk attended the Honey Meadow opening ceremony, congratulating the children for their work to create a whole new habitat for bees, butterflies and other insects. “Everyone and everything benefits from a project like this,” he told the children.

 “You have already found out about a lot of new things and you will go on making discoveries about nature and how we can all be part of making our environment a better place. This is the start of something, not the end.”

 Among the plants bought with ELF funding, the children have chosen manuka, lavender, swan plants, Pohutukawa and a wild flower seed mix including asters, sunflowers and herbs like catmint, mint, basil, rosemary and sage.

 Envirogroup leaders Jennifer Hay and Jeremy Meadows say the school recently bought “poppy seed pots” for each of the children in remembrance of the soldiers who died in the war, and these will be transplanted into the area to create a blaze of colour in time for Anzac Day

 Ruakaka School is one of 21 Northland schools that received ELF funding for a range of projects this year, such as stream health monitoring, possum fur plucking, riparian planting and wetland restoration. The allocations totalled $22,264.

 The fund aims to support Northland schools and their students to increase environmental knowledge, passions and practice through projects that are hands-on and have a positive environmental impact.

 Applications for ELF funding will be called for again in April next year.