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World Environment Day was marked by some of Alexandra’s younger conservationists at Jolendale Park last week.

Thirteen year 6 pupils from St Gerard’s School partnered with the Jolendale Park Charitable Trust to pick up rubbish and do maintenance at the park.

Set on Alexandra’s Bridge Hill, Jolendale Park was New Zealand’s first covenanted semi-arid exotic woodland reserve, becoming permanently protected by the QEII National Trust for Open Space in 2004.

St Gerard’s School principal Julie Flannery said the morning was a good opportunity for the children to learn about the park, and it fitted in well with their focus on helping others.

“We’re an enviroschool so it’s part of our beliefs around looking after the community,” she said.

Future proofing . . . St Gerard’s School year 6 pupils James Diver and Varna Sim pick up rubbish at Jolendale Park for World Environment Day last week.PHOTOS: SHANNON THOMSON

Year 6 pupil Varna Sim (10) said she enjoyed the morning and was keen to visit Jolendale Park again.

“I think it’s a really cool place and I’d like to come back here again.

“I think we should make another day where we pick up rubbish again,” she said.

A core group of “six or seven” volunteers meets throughout the year to maintain the 6ha park, which consists of three main land blocks overseen by a the Jolendale Park Charitable Trust, the privately owned Manning property and adjacent Central Otago District Council land incorporating Aronui Dam.

Guardians .Jolendale Park Charitable Trust trustee Barrie Wills shows St Gerard’s pupils native bush in Jolendale Park last week. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

Jolendale Park Charitable Trust trustee Barrie Wills said having the pupils assist at the park was important as it raised community awareness.

“This is the next generation that will help take over from us eventually,” he said.