Students pitch in to help Christchurch community

An area of wetland damaged by fire in 2014 was restored to its former glory with help from secondary school students and the University of Canterbury Student Volunteer Army (SVA). In 2014, vandals drove a car into Halswell Quarry destroying an area of native planting before setting fire to a section of boardwalk.

Recently, students from 10 Christchurch secondary schools, alongside the UC SVA, took on the restoration project as part of the SVA’s UCan volunteer programme and, in the space of a few hours, transformed the wetland area. The UCan programme encourages local secondary students to become leaders in their communities through volunteering, while being mentored by SVA members.

Student Volunteer Army (SVA) together with High School students from around Christchurch complete a project at Halswell Quarry Park.

Despite a rainy day, around 35 Year 12 and 13 students arrived eager to get to work. One crew set about rebuilding the damaged boardwalk, another group cleared the area around young native plantings and another used bark mulch to restore the pathway.

Christchurch City Council park rangers Nigel Morritt and Robbie Hewson worked alongside the volunteers.

“It was an amazing effort. In the space of a few hours the volunteers transformed the area. With the boardwalk repaired, track mulched and native plants released, all traces of the fire were gone. The students were full of energy and enthusiasm for the project and were a credit to their schools and the organisation, ” Nigel Morritt says.Student Volunteer Army (SVA) together with High School students from around Christchurch complete a project at Halswell Quarry Park.Student Volunteer Army (SVA) together with High School students from around Christchurch complete a project at Halswell Quarry Park.