19,000 plants going in

Students will be planting at the bike track during school hours this month.

Local school students, staff and community members will be planting more than 19,000 native plants around a bike track to complement the surrounding forest and reduce erosion.

Students and staff from Mission Heights Junior College (MHJC), Mission Heights Primary School (MHP) and KiNZ Mission Heights, as well as the wider community, will spend the morning of June 11 planting around the schools’ shared bike track, as part of a community planting day.

School students will be planting from Monday June 13 until Friday June 24 during school hours.

In early 2021, Mission Heights Junior College and Mission Heights Primary School kick-started a project that had been in the think tank for years. After receiving funding, Trail Pro began building the two schools a bike track in a shared field.

The Times was told that the bike track is one of the biggest in New Zealand and is a resource that is open for students and the wider community to use.

“Within school time, students complete a bike passport as part of their bike track experience. Students have also learned the correct way to wear a helmet, maintain a bike and proper riding techniques.”

Both schools have their own bike fleet, state-of-the-art bikes, supplied to the school through funding applications and hard work by students and teachers. A number of students are bike ambassadors, sharing their biking knowledge and care techniques with peers.

Students are also learning about Matariki and the critical planting that occurs during this season. The planting will complement the neighbouring 400-year-old forest and reduce erosion around the site.

Tamariki (children) are learning about native plants that help deter erosion and grow the flora and fauna of the local area.

Funding for the project came from the Pest Free Howick Ward and the Howick Local Board.

The opening ceremony is on Tuesday June 7 from 10am-11am and the planting will kick-start with a community planting day on June 11 from 10am until 1pm at the Mission Heights Junior College and Mission Heights Primary School’s Bike Track.

Everyone is welcome to attend and help with the planting.