A Palmerston North primary school and also one in Waikato have taken away the prizes in a national competition centred on turning a former quarry into a community asset.
The Rock our Future competition, now in its second year, is run by the Aggregate and Quarry Association.
AQA CEO Wayne Scott says what stood out in the entries were the efforts of two year 7&8 classes at Newbury School in Palmerston North and two classes in year 6 at Leamington Primary School in Cambridge.
“The entries came back in the form of physical structures, minecraft builds and another was a video game software virtual build!”
Wayne Scott says Haana Norris-Spring, Rebecca Clark and Monique Dillon from Newbury School came up with designing a quarry reserve at nearby Longburn Shingle Co quarry.
“The girls observed that Longburn is an area without much in the way of nature or recreational areas. They came up with a design which had a waterfall running into several natural swimming pools, a camping ground, pathways and even a flying fox.”
Bailey Little, Amara Nairn and Aimee Hagger also from Newbury School came up with the idea of developing a Forest Adventure Park.
Each of the four national team winners receive $1,000 each for their school and $100 prize for themselves.
The brief for the children was they had been hired by a quarrying company called Big Rock Solutions which had completed extracting rock and now wanted to turn the quarry into an asset for the community. The children were advised the company wanted a sustainable, environmentally sensitive project that would bring benefit to the local community. Neighbours and others in the community need to be considered in whatever final use was designed for the site.
Schools were advised to encourage their pupils to research and make contact with a local quarry and use real-life examples, including, if possible, a quarry that had finished extracting or was getting close. That said, the quarry could be located anywhere in the country.
Wayne Scott says as well as the efforts children put into all the entries, teachers and parents who supported them also deserve to be acknowledged. He says this Rock our Future competition was made more challenging to organise and judge on its second run because of Covid-19 but the AQA was looking to run it again next year.