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Campbell's Bay Primary School

Campbell's Bay Community Forest

An Interview with Mrs George

Fiona George: Fiona designed the layout and planting schemes for the forest and spent many many hours working hard and training the parents and children.

Fiona George at one of the many working bees

What was your involvement ?

I had a daughter, Sam, at this school and I wanted to help.  I have a Diploma in Environmental Management so was able to make a big plan for the next five years for the school.  Mr McGowan helped get parents to work at the working bees and we got started.  I wrote a very detailed proposal of 80 pages, and the Board of Trustees decided to adopt the proposal as a Jubilee project for the 75th anniversary of the school in 2000.

What type of rubbish was in the community forest before you started to build it up?

The rubbish in there was mostly shopping trolleys, timber, drums, plastic, glass, school litter and muesli bar wrappers.

Were there any major things that happened in the community forest?

Slip: The water rushed down from the field and washed away all our hard work

 Yes there were there was one in 1998. There was a big slip and a whole section of the field sank down. It washed away all of the walkway and plants below the field - it was like a river of mud through the gully.  Then new drainage was put in the field.

Who built the walkway?

The dads and the volunteers from Milford Rotary Club built the walkway.

Why did you build a walkway in the community forest?

We built the walkway so that the children, teachers and parents could see the beautiful plants, and so you could use it all year round. The walkway would last for a long time and need very little maintenance.

When did you start planting plants in the community forest?

We started to plant some plants in 1995.  There was a group of 10 people in a working bee.

Who paid for it?

The Lotteries Board donated $10,000  and Maddren Timber gave us a big discount on the timber. 

Project Crimson, which is part of Carter Holt Harvey, gave us some pohutukawas - mostly the ones along the edge of the field. Lots of school families donated plants too, and I believe they still do.

Were there many birds?

There were hardly any in 1995 - one day when I went down there I only saw two fantails and a few blackbirds.  Now there are a lot more.  Puriri trees are very good for wood pigeons and the tui like flax and kowhai - they like the nectar.

What is the code on the tree pegs?

All the trees were labelled, and the first number means the year that the tree was planted.  So number 720 means it was the 20th tree planted in 1997.

Sketch: A sketch of the forest outline. 

This is a sketch Mrs George did of our forest plan.

Now we have some questions for your daughter Sam.

Sam: Sam helped at many working bees 

This is a picture of Sam in about 1995.

How many trees did you plant?

I think I planted three trees -  a pohutukawa, a kauri and a kowhai.

What did the kids do when the adults were working on the forest?

When the adults were working, most of the kids helped - many of them planted trees or helped with the weeding . 

Have you seen the school since you were here?

Sadly I haven't had much of a chance to come back and see CBS since I was there - though I am planning to.

Did you enjoy working on the forest?

I loved working on the forest. I have always liked making things grow, and I really want to see how far the forest has come.

Did you like Campbell's Bay School?

I loved Campbell's Bay School. It was one of the most beautiful schools I've seen, and I think you are very lucky to still be there.

What was your favourite tree?

My favourite tree was the kowhai I planted. It might even still be there, but  I can't be sure- it was beside the entrance path and it had a lovely curving shape so that it would hang over the path when it was bigger.

Is there anything you would like to share with us about Campbell's Bay School?

If there was one thing I could say about  Campbell's Bay School it would be  to enjoy your time there. You don't realise how fun primary school is until you're doing exams. So don't take it all for granted  - savour every moment. 


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