Aurora pupils grow kindness

    Aurora College pupils (from left) Ashton Gregory-Hunt (13), Carl Hollis (15) and Danny Mortimore (13) in their tomato-filled tunnel house in the school garden they helped build.

    THE only thing missing from a transformed Invercargill school garden is chickens.

    And they will be arriving.

    From bee havens to tomato-filled tunnel houses, herbs for miles and blossoming fruit trees, Aurora College’s Garden Club turned an almost empty plot on their grounds into a plethora of flora and fauna.

    One of the garden’s project managers, Danny Mortimore, spent lunchtimes and after school helping out with the labour side of things and planting whatever he could get his hands on.

    “We rebuilt the chicken coop for when we get some.

    “All of our flowers and produce leftovers go to the principal and then she gives them to people who are less fortunate.”

    It felt good to be a part of the creative process, he said.

    Year 9 home base teacher Jacqueline Stewart said it had taken a year to get to where the pupils were with the garden, and people would not believe what it looked like initially.

    Not only had they planted it all, they also built it from the ground up.

    The passion project was made possible with the help of the wider community and school whanau, with more than $400 worth of fruit trees gifted along with plenty of seedlings from various donors.

    “It’s definitely helped grow our relationships with our community and got people to question how they get their food and where it comes from.”

    Sustainable practices were something the school really wanted to be included in the pupils’ education.

    In turn, their families had learnt a lot too.

    “The kids have just been blown away by what their seedlings have turned into.”

    Those with special needs had also benefited from the project, by helping grow and maintain the gardens, as well as cook with the ingredients.

    As for plans for the future, the aim was to line the perimeter with bee gardens and fill any “dead space” to beautify the grounds even further.