Pupils learn about sustainable farming

The future of farming . . . Duntroon School pupils at a North Otago Sustainable Land Management Planting Project last week.

Not even hail storms could keep a group of green-thumbed school children from giving back to the planet.

Year 7 and 8 pupils from Duntroon School planted nearly 750 plants along the Karara Creek as a part of a North Otago Sustainable Land Management group (NOSLaM) planting project last week.

NOSLaM co-ordinator Rob McTague said that by involving the pupils, they were teaching sustainable farming practices to the next generation.

‘‘It’s taken 40 [or] 50 years for water quality to get to what it is but we’re not gonna fix it overnight because it’s taken that long,’’ MrMcTague said.

‘‘These kids are the farmers of the future. So we’re starting to involve them now.’’

They planted flax, toetoe and two types of grass that would reduce sediment runoff into the creek and improve the water quality.

‘‘We plant them about a metre apart and they form like a wall and through their root structure. They bulk up, just like the tumbleweed grasses you see down on the beach and they catch all the sediment.’’

The group had to push through three hail storms to get the job done. It was the second planting organised by NOSLaM and the school. The first one was held in December last year. About 17 of the pupils involved last year were back again this time around.

Duntroon School principal Mike Turner said the planting was a success and he looked forward to continuing the relationship with NOSLaM.

‘‘We have told NOSLaM and we’ve had conversations with NOSLaM about just keeping that relationship going,’’ Mr Turner said.

‘‘We’re keen [to do more plantings] and we might even get some of our younger kids doing it as well.’’

NOSLaM will be back on the tools again this weekend as it holds another planting in collaboration with Kakanui School.

Mr McTague said more than 80 people were expected to attend.

‘‘It’s abig urban rural community get-together, if you like. [We are] bringing them together to improve the water quality because Kakanui School has a creek running through their school paddock,’’ Mr McTague said.