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Bugman makes a beeline for Treemendous BT-50

Words: Robert Barry   |   Photos Mazda New Zealand
7 Dec 2017

The Treemendous school initiative is welcoming New Zealand’s own ‘Bugman’ Ruud Kleinpaste as it’s official ambassador.

To help Kleinpaste transport his bug enclosures across the country, he has also been gifted the keys to a Treemendous branded Mazda BT-50 as part of his official ambassadorship.

Treemendous is a joint initiative between Project Crimson and the Mazda Foundation, which has in the last decade transformed unused areas at more than 40 primary and Intermediate schools into outdoor learning areas.

Kleinpaste, who has been an unofficial ambassador since the project began, provides another level of education to Treemendous events. He uses the environment as a context for education and tells stories about how nature and the planet operates on a sustainable level.

“We can learn a lot from our Biodiversity – especially from the bugs,” he says.

Kleinpaste inspires both students and teachers to use their outdoor learning areas as a source for numeracy, literacy, science, social studies and of course, art.

But he says he is very grateful for the opportunity to impart his knowledge and passion for entomology and natural history.

“It’s fantastic seeing the children’s faces light up when they hold a wēta for the very first time. I look forward to the Treemendous events each year; it has such a positive impact on the way young people value the environment”

Mazda Foundation chairperson and Mazda NZ managing director, David Hodge says Kleinpaste is already an integral part of the Treemendous events so having him on board, officially, is really exciting.

“Ruud is well-known for the work he does and his dedication to helping the younger generation become nature-literate, aligns well with our vision for Treemendous,” says Hodge.

“My new BT-50 is awesome”, says Kleinpaste. ”If you see my colourful Mazda ute around, come and say ‘gidday’; if you’re an educator we can have a chat about Nature-Time Teaching and education outside the classroom, in a purpose-designed outdoor learning area”

Any primary or intermediate school in New Zealand can apply to become a Treemendous School.

Finalists will receive $500 and four schools are chosen to receive a $10,000 Treemendous outdoor classroom. Entries will open again in the first term of 2018.

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