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Otago students have dozens of projects on the go.  Here we feature some of their inspiring work...

The Entranceway to the New Playscape at Wanaka Primary School

Students at Wanaka Primary School have been involved in designing a new playscape at their school. Simon Williams, the Enviroschools facilitator, and Jo Roberts, the key Enviroschools teacher, worked with students to investigate what was missing from the school grounds. 

The students wanted to see an entrance way to the school. With the help of Simon the students investigated entrance ways throughout the world, looking at their purpose and construction. 

Everyone involved in the process created a design, which was then analysed using a set of criteria identified by the students. Estelle and Paige produced the two most popular designs, which were then shown to the playscape committee who loved what they had created.

Both of these designs were combined into something achievable. The hand prints are of every student in Pod 1. Estelle and Paige drew the kowhai trees and then sprayed the Tui on to represent the story of Weni and the Kowhai Tree: the tale of a student’s life at WPS. The sponge and clay panels are for the students to touch as they enter and leave the playground.

January 2017

Queenstown Primary School Envirogroup Visit the Jean Malpas Nursery

Community nurseries are starting to pop up all over Central Otago! The Jean Malpas nursery was set up in 2013 and is the home of the Wakatipu Restoration Trust. The nursery is the brainchild of Neill and Barb Simpson. Barb regularly helps schools in the district with advice on what plants to plant, where to put them and most importantly, gives her time and energy to put them in the ground when all the decisions have been made.

Barb also runs a first-class education programme at the nursery. The QPS Envirogroup visited on a gorgeous day early in term 4, and students got to hear about how the nursery was set up and is run, why natives are important, the habitats they create for local fauna and how to identify some plants. The students got a chance to get their hands dirty repotting seedlings, and finished the day with tree planting.

January 2017

Petition to Ban Single Use Plastic Bags!

Carisbrook School are taking a petition to parliament to ban the single-use plastic shopping bags in NZ. We are hoping to get as many signatures as possible to show the NZ Government that the people of NZ want this change.

This is a great opportunity for the Enviroschools network nationwide to pull together and really push to make systematic change in our country!

For schools who have a team of passionate students/teacher(s) who can drive the collecting of signatures over the summer and/or early in 2017, here is some information for teachers in students on how to go about collecting signatures.

Here is a copy of the petition itself to print off and collect signatures. It needs to signed by people over 18 yrs old and be returned to Carisbrook School by the first week of March 2017.

Dunedin TV covered the story of the launch - you can watch the clip here

Please feel free to contact the Enviroschools facilitator who is working with Carisbrook – anna.hughes@dcc.govt.nz . She can answer any questions you have and set up Skype calls with the students themselves if other Enviroschools students want to touch base with Carisbrook students directly. 

For more information about the use of plastic bags, check out these links:


Queenstowns Primary Schools Care Code

Developing a CARE code at QPS


The students of the Queenstown Primary, usually around 32 of them - from year 3 up to year 8, have been working this year on understanding what it is to be an Enviroschool. This exploration has worked towards them exploring and creating a CARE code for their schools.

The students wanted to visually express some of their values around the mahi they do as part of QPS's journey towards sustainability. Splitting into four groups, they each took one of the four letters of the word CARE and brainstormed what they did that related to that action. The idea was that they were going to paint some murals to be mounted on the side of the school, with help from a local artist.

After much discussion and deliberation the following properties were assigned to each of the letters; C = Caring (Buddy benches), A = Action (Compost system designed and built by students using funds from the empowerment fund), R = Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (School wide recycling ssytem), & E = Environment (Edible gardens). With the school year quickly drawing towards an end and time becoming very precious, we decided to use Simon's (the QLDC facilitator) skills as as a photographer and graphic designer to direct and action four different photoshoots and then create them into panels which can be mounted underneath the 'We are an Enviroschool' sign.

Broad Bay School a Bronze Enviroschool

Photo 5 broad bay school a bronze enviroschool

Our Broad Bay School Enviroschools Reflection team had a great morning sharing, discussing and deciding on whether we consider ourselves to be a Bronze Enviroschool. Children and adults alike were excited with the realization that we do indeed fit the Bronze Paragraph! It also gave us some useful ideas of where to from here and we have plenty of next steps to work with.

Opoho School Green Gold Reflection

 Opoho School had our Green Gold Re-reflection Day.  A  mixture  of staff, students, parents, board members and  Enviroschools  facilitators came along to share our journey. First we shared our  Opoho Enviroschools Journey  represented by an awa that begun  way back in 2002.  We  have added our new part of the awa,  bringing us up to  2015. It’s really long now! 

We did an Enviro Scavenger Hunt around the school so  we could show off our surroundings to our visitors. The  Guiding Principles were represented on a Kowhai tree and  our future goals were added as flowers.  Garden pots were  filled with evidence of how we are meeting each of the  Green Gold sentences and we have planted these with  flowers and edibles to sell at our garden and craft stall  later in the year. We shared a delicious morning tea and lunch, which  featured a salad from the school garden. We created a  cool new Enviroschools board celebrating our journey,  which is going up outside the office.  A big thank you to  everyone that came along to celebrate our journey,  especially our Enviroschools facilitator Anna for all her  help.

Green-Gold at Glenorchy

 Glenorchy Primary were one of the country's first pilot Enviroschools. Since signing up in 2001 they have been fully committed to the programme ever since. Sitting at the head of Lake Wakatipu, Glenorchy is a small rural township where its residents understand how important it is to lead a sustainable as possible life.

We have been building up to the Green-Gold reflection for a while and in term 4 the day finally rolled around. Just to add a few extras into the day, we were joined by a group of students from an international school based in Hong Kong, who were touring New Zealand gaining valuable cultural insights into the way of living here. They really wanted to check out a school who were living and breathing sustainability. We were also joined by our MP for Clutha-Southland, Todd Barclay.

 After a very impressive mihi whakatau, we heard from the students about their journey towards sustainability, giving us an insight into some of the things we would see on our tour of school. The students took the tour in their stride, it was obvious that this really was a way of life for them and they are so proud of everything they do at school.

 Their gardens are extensive, transforming the school grounds into a bright and vibrant outdoor learning environment. One of the parents has been leading the way with their edible gardens which are ever expanding, utilising a poly tunnel, worm farms, compost systems and chickens to grow food to be primarily eaten by students. Any surplus is either sold or given away to community members. Two more parents and owners of Wildlight Safaris, have been leading a native restoration projects. The students harvest seeds from local natives and then cultivate them back at school in another poly tunnel. As they nurture these seedlings, they progress into the nursery until they are ready to be planted along the boardwalk, an area of town that these young people have transformed forever more.

 Some of the other notable actions are the memorial sensory garden at the school entrance to commemorate two students, various signs along their fence line telling the story of Glenorchy for the many tourist to view as well as offering a place to do some eco-activism around the proposed tunnel and also the G-Wai giant painted onto the playground.

 It was a pretty straightforward decision for the reflection team to confirm that Glenorchy Primary are indeed a Green-Gold Enviroschool. Congratulations to you all !!

Dunedin Enviroschools Expo

After more than 10 years of Enviroschools in Dunedin it was time to celebrate. Twenty Enviroschools, along with 12 local community groups, local MP’s, councillors, members of Enviroschools national team and local facilitators and met in the Dunedin Botanic Garden to display the mahi that is part of their journey towards sustainability.


Port Chalmers School with ex Enviroschools facilitator now City Councillor Jinty McTavis (L) and DNI talking to Wakari School (R)

Schools showed how the Enviroschools guiding principles are integrated into school life, community groups displayed the work they do and the many hours they spend working with local Enviroschools. There was an audible buzz of energy and excitement as students participated in a treasure hunt to find out what other schools were doing and learn more about the work of community groups.

The schools in attendance were formally presented with their ‘We are an Enviroschool’ national sign by a councillor from the Dunedin City Council who fund the programme locally. In Enviroschools style we shared delicious, waste-free, organic kai and spent the afternoon visiting the new propagation unit in the Botantic Garden and Lab in a Box. The weather was fabulous and a great day was had by all. Here’s to another 10+ years of Enviroschools in Dunedin!


Wakari School receiving sign from councillor Aaron Hawkins (L) and Acknowledging the wonderful kai from Taste Nature (R)

Montessori Children's House Action Fund Report

 At Montessori Children's House in Wanaka, water     is  very important to us. As we live in an area that  becomes very dry over the summer months,  supporting sustainable practices is an important part  of our learning environment. Over our summer  closedown, the outside environment of the Bambini  classroom has been completely transformed with  the addition of new grass areas and paving and the  transformation of the gardens - both vegetyable and  flowers make for an inviting environment. It looks  amazing.



We were grateful at Montessori Chldren's House  Wanaka to ahve received a Enviroschools Action  Grant for the purchase and installation of a Rain  water Tank for the children, in their new outdoor environment. This will be well utilised by the children. 

The gardens are very colourful and we have started to harvest the food that we are growing. With our new rain tank in place, our tamariki are able to independantly turn on the tap to fill their watering can and water the fruit trees, vegetables and flowers.

Our philosophy leans towards a "help me to help myself" (Dr Maria Montessori) way of learning. Now we can collect rain water and learn about conserving water. We empower our tamariki as capable people and competent learners to make decisions and take responsibilities for taking care of the environment. It is wonderful to see our oyung children enthusiastically involved in hands-on-experiences. They are gaining knowledge, skills and understanding of the environment and how to care for it. "The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul" (Dr Maria Montessori)