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Wednesday, 24 April 2019 01:49 am

The kids are green and fit at Houghton Valley School

Sep 13th, 2016 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Latest News, Most Popular, News


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 Houghton Valley School and paddock,  soon to be site of a learn to ride cycle track.

Kids on bikes will soon be a common sight on the Houghton Valley School paddock.

The school is one of six in the region to receive a grant from the Wellington Bikes in Schools Fund.

A learn-to-ride track will be built and bikes and helmets for pupils will be bought.

Principal Raewyn Watson (right)  says similar projects have worked well for other schools.

“Cycling is popular in the Houghton Valley community despite the fact it’s quite hilly,” Raewyn says.400 450 headshot Raewyn Watson

“The opportunities for children to practice though are actually quite limited, and the new bike track and bikes will be used to teach pupils how to ride a bike in a safe environment.”

The 440m-long, 2m-wide asphalt riding track, skills track and BMX type ‘pump’ track will be in place by November.

Fifty bikes and helmets will be purchased with the $60,000 grant.

The total cost of the project is an estimated $90,000, with the school fundraising and seeking corporate sponsorship to make up the shortfall.

Parent Anna Ririnui says she is impressed with the support the project has from parents.

“We can all see what an asset the bike tracks will be to the wider community. It’ll result in a pretty unique car-free, flat, cycling spot for families,” she says.

The $600,000 Bikes in Schools Fund is covered by the Wellington City Council and administered by Bike On NZ Charitable Trust.

Six Wellington schools have received funding since the scheme was launched in 2014.

The Wellington City Council website says over 2000 Wellington students can now ride bikes every day on purpose-built tracks within their school grounds.

For Houghton Valley School, Bikes in Schools complements a raft of other environmental projects the school is involved in.

“It all fits together” says Raewyn.

The school has made an application to Treemendous for  $10,000.

If successful, the fund will allow the school to transform more of the school grounds into an educational space with native trees and plants.The school has been planting trees and building tracks on adjoining council land known as ‘the  Rainforest’ since 2004.

“I don’t know how many trees would have been planted by pupils in that time, but it would be 100s,” Raewyn says.

Two fejoia trees are being nurtured by pupils as part of the Wellington City Council Guardians of Fruit Trees project. The youngest classes plant flowers to encourage butterflies.

Different classrooms take turns being responsible for the schools worm farm, compost bins, and chicken coop.  Eggs are sold to offset the cost of feed.

The school will be fundraising for the Bike Track and other projects at their annual school  fair on Saturday, October 29 2016.

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