Introduction

70 Hilltop School students rid a large clearing of the Oruatua conservation scenic reserve of weeds armed with secateurs, loppers, saws, weed killer gel and hard labour.

Date:  08 June 2013

Hilltop School students armed with Weedbuster tools.
Armed with Weedbuster tools are Joseph McGlade, Coen Johnston and Aidan Winmill

Many hands made light work of the weeds in the Oruatua conservation scenic reserve when 70 Hilltop School year 7 and 8 students were armed with secateurs, loppers, saws and weed killer gel. The children rid a large clearing of broom and cotoneaster in half a days hard work, dragging the debris off site which were driven to the land fill by supportive parents.

Hilltop School teacher Collette Taylor thought to turn Weedbusting into a science lesson when she realised she needed people power to help make a dent on the weed problem she had been chipping away at as an Oruatua resident.

"Kids of this age really respond to social action type learning and we were looking for something meaningful in the local environment".

This work is in addition to six predator traps in the Oruatua bush by students working towards the William Pike award, and class community service work busting the weed tradescantia.

Twelve year old Eli Smith says "To achieve something big comes bigger commitment and Hilltop Intermediate brought exactly that".

The ongoing project started with a lesson from Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Ian McNickle who taught the kids how to identify the weeds, and the best method to bust them with. He was impressed by their "astonishing progress in a days work".

Signs have been proudly erected in the reserve – "Hilltop Weedbusters at work. Watch this space". The children will also plant the new clearings with native trees before the weeds fight back.

If you would like to donate a native tree, or make a donation to the project please contact Hilltop School on +64 7 378 7583.

Contact

Kim Turia
Programme Manager Community Relations
Department of Conservation
Taupo-nui-a-Tia Area Office
Phone: +64 7 384 7163
Email: kturia@doc.govt.nz

Hilltop School
Phone: +64 7 378 7583

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