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

North Otago schools join Enviroschools

Several schools and preschools in North Otago have recently enrolled in the Enviroschools programme.

Enviroschools facilitator Bron Claridge said she was excited about the initiative.

“People are kind of thinking about things but Enviroschools provides that umbrella to put it all under and get recognition for what they’re doing.”

Maheno Kindergarten, Fenwick, Papakaio, Totara, Maheno, Macraes Moonlight, Flag Swamp, Weston and St Joseph’s primary schools, Oamaru Intermediate School, Waitaki Girls’ High School and ABC Oamaru have joined the programme.

“We’re hoping next year the council and Oamaru ratepayers will see this is a wonderful thing and we should extend it,” Mrs Claridge said.

It was only early days but she was confident the programme would be a success.

“Schools want to be on board – that’s the exciting part.”




Keeping it green .. Facilitator Bron Claridge (back left) and teacher Ali Stock celebrate with Fenwick School pupils after the school's enrolment in the Enviroschools programme. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG ARTICLE: OAMARU MAIL


Enviroschools Energy hui

Maori Hill School pupils (from left) Zara Weatherley (10), Maita Madambi (9), Oliver MacKenzie (10) and Gulce Asil (9) build a model energy-efficient house during the Enviroschools Primary School Hui at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum yesterday. 

Later, they had the opportunity to test the efficiency of their model homes using infrared cameras to map heat loss.

The theme of this year's hui was energy - one of the key issues of the 21st century.

Pupils from 12 Dunedin primary schools gained an insight into how energy touches every part of our lives and were able to engage with the different forms of energy and their use in society.

The pupils also looked at sustainable energy generation and methods for energy conservation.

University of Otago physics lecturer Dr Esther Haines explained how energy, such as solar energy, was generated and how it could be transformed into electrical energy.

Otago Daily Times November 2017

Size Doesn't Matter When it Comes to Busting Waste

Wanaka Pre-school visits Waste Busters

"We just love showing people around our place. Last week we had a visit from Wanaka Pre-School. They are one of our local Enviroschools in the early childhood sector, and they have been learning all about recycling. 
They were a successful recipient of one of the Enviroschools Otago Empowerment Fund Grants, which gave them money to hire a bus so they could come and see for themselves what happens to their recycling. 
This is such a valuable way for our young people to learn about what happens to their stuff and demonstrate why separating and washing is so important" - Wanaka Wastebusters
May 2017

Adventuring in the Outdoor Classroom

Otago teachers' biodiversity field trip

Central Otago Enviroschools teachers were treated to a day in the field with members from the Clyde Railhead Community Eco-Nursery.

The learning was based around local biodiversity, and learning more about our own backyard and what is out there. Seed collection, propagation and the geology history of the area were only some of the topics covered! 

Interacting hands-on with the flora and fauna of Central Otago gave everyone a lot of ideas and knowledge to take back to the classroom and share with students.


March 2017

St Gerard's Bronze Reflection

"Tino pai St Gerard's enviro-group! Well done with your Bronze reflection this afternoon.

You have shown great strides in your enviroschools journey already, and these steps will continue with your wonderful enthusiasm, depth of knowledge and your critical thinking you apply to your programmes and practices.

The community that surrounds you is supportive and eager also to support you on this journey.”

Great Green Girls Enjoy Their New Gold Status

Otago Girls' High lead environmental awareness


Otago Girls' High School has been part of the Enviroschools programme since 1999 and have been hard at work the past 18 years to raise their environmental awareness to a Green-Gold level.

Assistant principal Bridget Davidson said the Green-Gold award was for proving the school had imbedded environmental sustainability in everything it did. The school has worked hard to build environmental awareness among staff and pupils, and has developed an environmental care code.
Task forces have been established to look at the school's waste and recycling, energy use and carbon footprint, and landscape. The school's pupils are also heavily involved in community environmental activities such as the Tomahawk Lagoon study, Quarantine Island planting projects and seaweed study, the Healthy Harbour Watch and a kowhai propagation programme at the school.
“Environmental practices are integrated across the school, in the curriculum, it takes in Maori perspectives, it takes in diversity of students and cultures, and it takes in our practices at the school - what we do every day for the environment.'' said Mrs Davidson. She added that the school was proud of the award because it was difficult to achieve at secondary level. 

Petition to Ban Single Use Plastic Bags


The Carisbrook primary schools students have a date to present the petition banning the single use plastic bag to parliament. 

They will present the petition on June 28 to Clare Curran on the steps of Parliament at 10am (the time may move a little, but they have to present it before 1pm).

They would love to have as many people, school students in particular, there on the day to support them.


It is very exciting that the students have got the petition to this point – a huge effort on their part and the part of Ann Ruxton, the teacher that is supporting them.

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:


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

Queenstown Primary School's 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.

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 !!