Pupils aid penguin trust with planting

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Catlins Area School pupils helped plant about 300 plants in a field at Long Point recently to assist the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, which is preparing the site for a new base of operations to be built there.

The plants would serve as a “dispersal field” for dishwater and other waste draining from the work site into the field.

The plants would absorb the waste and prevent it from polluting the lower part of the site.

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust ranger Ben Goldsworthy said the pupils were an enthusiastic bunch.

“They’ve been enjoying the planting so much we’ve actually had to force them to stop at certain points.”

The spot at Long Point was chosen as an appropriate location to release penguin chicks in February next year.

“It’s good for us to have a spot where we can have volunteers to make sure the public are not interfering with the penguins and we can have fish on hand for the chicks,” Mr Goldsworthy said.

The children were planting rata, lancewoods, cabbage trees, hebes and flaxes and when they were done it would tally about 300 plants.

Pupil Joey Jenks said “it was hard manual labour” but it was better than being inside the classroom.

Teacher Emma Longmore said the exercise went hand-in-hand with the school’s emphasis on the value of service to the community.

“We even have the yellow-eyed penguin on our school logo .. so it’s a pretty important topic for us.”