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We would like to acknowledge the depth and breadth of the Enviroschools network in 16 regions of Aotearoa and Te Waiponamu. The expertise, experience, dedication and knowledge of each Regional team and every Enviroschool involved, contributes to the ultimate success of the Enviroschools programme in New Zealand!  

These are the latest happenings in our regions with more news on each regional page at In Your Region

Regional Newsletters

Highlighting actions, learning and events from around Aotearoa

These newsletters are filled with amazing highlights from schools and kindergartens! Some profile specific action projects, others showcase regional events and workshops...check out the links below and be inspired by what's happening in regions around Aotearoa!

Northland - Enviroschools Northland 

Auckland - Connections 

Waikato - Waikato blogsite

Bay of Plenty- Plenty for Teachers 

Gisborne - Enviroschools Tairawhiti 

Hawke's Bay - Enviroschools in Hawke's Bay

Manawatu-Wanganui - Seedlings eNewsletter

Taranaki - Enviroschools Taranaki 

Wellington - E-newsletters

Nelson & Tasman - EcoBuzz

Marlborough - Greentalk Schools Newsletter

West Coast - Enviroschools on the West Coast 

Canterbury - Chatterbox   Latest newsletter direct download here (August 2016)

Otago - Enviroschools Otago 

Southland - Enviroschools Southland newsletters

Congratulations Sunnyhills School - the winners of the Mother Earth "Big Garden" competition

From little things, big things grow

Sunnyhills School has broken ground for their new Big Garden after being drawn as the winner from hundreds of consumer entries across New Zealand.

The Pakuranga school has had its own edible garden for a few years and was already planning for growth. Now after winning the Mother Earth “Big Garden” promotion they have the cash they need to get their plan off the ground.

Today the school is buzzing with the arrival of 12 big new planter boxes, lots of plants and a commercial scale worm farm to keep it in good health. Along with many New World Little Garden seedlings, children will be growing over 20 different vegetables from scratch. Each year group will be responsible for maintaining a section of the garden.

With a focus on garden to plate learning, Sunnyhill’s Middle School students are fortunate to have an interactive and inspiring learning environment in which to get their hands dirty.

 

Sunnyhills principal Justine Driver says she is delighted to see the garden grow so that the students can learn more about their environmental footprint and harvest a new way to learn, along with lots of fresh vegetables. Mrs Driver says that the new Big Garden will ensure gardening activities can be integrated into all areas of the school curriculum, including science and nutrition, and to connect with the wider school community.

It was an entry into the Mother Earth Big Garden competition from local mum, Lilli Wang that kicked it all off. Ms Wang entered the promotion which ran in conjunction with New World’s Little Garden campaign last month.

Sue Venville, a Senior Leader at Sunnyhills School, understands the importance of providing children with a place to grow. “Thanks to the Mother Earth Big Garden promotion, our children now have a garden substantially larger that the whole school can be involved in”.

As for the benefits, Mrs Venville says, “until now we have only harvested peas, broad beans and radishes that the students have eaten.  We will now be able to grow a variety of vegetables and tackle projects such as cooking, supplying the lunch room with produce and selling the excess to our local community with all funds going back into keeping the garden well stocked.”

“This garden is a lasting legacy from current students for future generations of Sunnyhill learners”.

Caroline Potter from Prolife Foods says, “The team at Mother Earth was thrilled to be part of New World’s Little Garden campaign. We wanted to find a way to ensure a school community could put their collectables to good use, growing and eventually harvesting their vegetables.

“With Sunnyhill School’s constant commitment to gardening and sustainability, we believe the Big Garden upgrade from Mother Earth is in safe hands”. 

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:

 

EVolocity Waikato Regional Finals promises an exciting day for budding engineers and innovators

EVolocity Waikato is a first-time competition for high school students to design, build and race their own electric vehicles. More than 70 students from 12 schools are taking part in the competition, designing and building their own electric cart or bike equipped with an electric motor kit. The designs range from four-wheel go-karts to two-wheeler bikes. 

EVolocity Waikato Student bikeTauhara College students Denis Mansell and Joshua Love-Parata are pictured with their electric bike they have built for the competition. The bike is made from an old bike found at the local dump and uses recycled materials from school for the seat and scrap metal in the design. EVolocity provided the electric motor kit. "We picked up the bike from the dump, the seat fabric and foam were offcuts from the fabric department, and apart from a new piece of tubing, everything else has been recycled."

On Friday 16th September their designs will be put to the test, with competitors racing their vehicles in a drag race and on a street circuit to see which schools’ electric vehicles will go on to compete in the national finals in Christchurch on November 27.

As well as speed, vehicles will be judged on economy, rolling resistance and motor control. Other prizes will be awarded for innovation and sustainability, with extra points for body design, bling, creatively dressed teams and community awareness.

Waikato Engineering Careers Association (WECA) manager Mary Jensen said EVolocity has been an excellent way to spark interest in important secondary school subjects and mechanical and electrical engineering.

St Johns’ College head of technology Steve Andrew said 10 Year 13 students taking part in EVolocity at his school had embraced the challenge, renewing their vigour for technology, maths and science subjects.

“They’re using core subjects like science and physics in the workshop and they’re so engrossed. It’s also probably the first time they have been exposed to mechanical and electrical engineering, so that’s a big part of it too,” Steve said.  

Students design, build and race their own electric vehicles with assistance from teachers, tertiary tutors and mentors from engineering businesses. “Our technology teachers are working together and students are working together to solve problems for a common purpose. The competition element of it has really motivated them. The response from everyone has been great,” says Steve Andrew.

"Learning with your hands is as important as learning with your head," said competition scrutineer and mentor Stew Lister. “EVolocity means they can be mentored throughout their project and learn those things. They can also be free to learn from their mistakes, which is just as important."

The EVolocity programme is a valuable tool in teaching NZ youth to think outside the square when considering future transport options and to appreciate the dramatic impact electric transport can have on air quality and energy efficiency.

The Waikato Regional finals are being held Friday 16th September at Kartsport Hamilton, from 1.30pm. See the programme here.

WECA is co-ordinating EVolocity in the region and its engineering company members, along with Wintec and the University of Waikato, who are supporting the initiative.

 

For more information contact:

Levinia Paku
EVolocity Waikato co-ordinator
022 372 0335

Story and pictures featured in Stuff and weca.org.

Milford Kindergarten finalist in Prime Minister's Awards

The Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements in early childhood education, primary and secondary schooling. The teaching team at Milford Kindergarten in Auckland has been selected as a finalist in the Education Focus category.

This award celebrates a focus on collaboration along the whole education pathway to improve health, wellbeing, and learning success for every child and young person. Milford Kindergarten applied for this award because of their inspirational practice, focusing on respect for the environment and education for sustainable practices. The Kindergarten has been part of the Auckland Enviroschools network for 5 years now and reflected for Enviroschools silver in 2015. They have shared their Enviroschools mahi and journey through presenting at several ECE workshops. Their kindergarten strategic Vision (influenced by Auckland Councils’ plan) is to be Auckland’s most sustainable ECE centre.

 Winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on 13 June 2016. For more information click here

Project Possum at NZAEE conference!

Possums went to town last Friday! Approximately 50 dead possums were transported from Northland to Auckland for hands on, (if participants wanted!), possum plucking/skinning/trapping as part of a workshop on Enviroschools ‘Project Possum’. The workshop was a component of the three day long NZAEE (New Zealand Association for Environmental Education) conference based at Auckland University. Project Possum practicals took place in Feijoa Forest/Constitution Hill.

Showing delegates the possum machine plucking process (photo courtesy of Northland Regional Council)

Taranaki Enviroschools Royal Visit November 2015

Enviroschools Taranaki was invited to take part in the recent Royal Visit to New Zealand, given how interested Prince Charles is in sustainability and empowering youth. A party of around 50 represented Enviroschools in the region near the Te Rewa Rewa bridge.

Katie Sinclair & Bailey Bright from Opunake High School spoke with His Royal Highness and explained what they do within their school and the community to support sustainability within their region. Simon Fuller, Opunake High School’s Principal, was on hand to discuss with the Prince how great Enviroschools is for students and the school in general. In particular, His Royal Highness was impressed with the students’ community work and their recent trip to Bali where they volunteered at schools either teaching English or helping build a classroom.

     
Lauree Tito, Taranaki Enviroschools Regional Coordinator, Prince Charles, Bailey Bright from Opunake High School & Andrew Judd, Mayor of New Plymouth.  Discussing Enviroschools with His Royal Highness.


Prince Charles collecting a packet of Kumi Kumi pumpkin seeds from Kings Seeds from a royal supporter.

 Waite, Principal, Marie Stark, lead Enviroschools teacher, & Keith Mitchell, BOT Chair, all from Toko School, were able to demonstrate the benefits of having the full support of the staff and Board to create success in an Enviroschool. Toko School is a prime example of this with their recent Silver Enviroschool achievement. Around 35 Toko school students from the Envirogroup were on hand to explain to the Prince the results of their investigations into the differences between rural and coastal waterways and what was required to sustain each.

Lauree Tito, Regional Coordinator for Taranaki Enviroschools & Esther Kirk, Resource and PD Manager for Toimata Foundation, were able to further explain the benefits of the Enviroschools programme to His Royal Highness. Lauree and Esther presented him with a copy of the 2014 national Enviroschools census report.

Lauree is really proud to have been able to showcase the Enviroschools kaupapa and thanks the students & staff for the fabulous job they all did of representing their schools, their whānau, their community & the province. It was an honour to be part of the day.

   
Prince Charles finding out more from Toko students about their investigations on rural to coastal waterways studies.   

 

Following the visit to New Zealand, Lauree received this letter of thanks from the Assistant Private Secretary to The Prince of Wales,  ka pai Lauree!! 

Happy Birthday Marlborough - celebrating 10 years of Enviroschools in 2015

Enviroschools, a school programme that teaches children to love, care for and respect the environment, celebrated 10 years in Marlborough last week.

The day involved a planting event at the Taylor River walkway in the morning, followed by a teacher workshop at Blenheim School in the afternoon. The planting event was run by Envirogroup students from Fairhall, Springlands, Linkwater and Waikawa Bay schools, who did a really fantastic job of introducing special guests, sharing the commemorative plaque, and offering a mihi before the planting began. 

But it's not just the anniversary that is being celebrated - the programme, supported in the region by the Marlborough District Council, Marlborough Kindergarten Association and the Department of Conservation, has the largest uptake of any area nationally, and it's growing.

From humble beginnings in 2005 with five schools piloting the programme, 80 per cent of Marlborough schools are now signed on and all Marlborough kindergartens are on board. More than 90 per cent of the schools involved have eatable gardens and fruit trees, 90 per cent of schools have compost collection methods in place, 41 per cent are harvesting rainwater and 20 per cent keep chickens for eggs.

And it doesn't stop there. Thanks to Enviroschools, close to 1000 trees were planted across the Marlborough region in 2014 and the schools regularly go on outings to clean-up their local area. In addition to signing on to environmentally sustainable initiatives, the Enviroschools kaupapa teaches Māori perspectives and is about fostering deep connections within students "to love, care for and respect ourselves, each other and our planet."

Springlands School Enviroschool lead teacher Cathee Wilks says one of the highlights of the school's involvement with the programme has been how it had empowered children to take the lead on projects and use their initiative. "[It is great] seeing the 5-year olds take on leadership and initiate some actions at our school and the fact that they know they have a voice and know it will be listened to," she says.

Installing a sense of responsibility and empowerment within children is what motivates Enviroschools regional co-ordinator Annie McDonald. "We know that over the past 50 years humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable time in human history. "If we are preparing our students to be future focused then we need to equip them with the skills they need for our changing world."

 

Nelson Enviroschools Celebrate 10 years

In June,70 Enviroschools teachers and principals gathered to make the achievement and look to the future with Nelson mayor Rachel Reese, Nelson MP Nick Smith, and Heidi Mardon who is chief executive of the Hamilton-based Toimata Foundation which is the trust working with Enviroschools.

The celebration, with a powhiri, was held at Auckland Point School which is the latest of the 21 Enviroschools in Nelson, which include eight kindergartens as well as primary and intermediate schools and three colleges - Garin, Nayland and Nelson College for Girls.

Regional coordinator for Enviroschools Nelson Lindsey Fish, left, Toimata Foundation chief executive Heidi Mardon and Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese with the new Enviroschools sign

Story & picture above featured in The Nelson Mail.

Long Term Plans Submission to Gisborne District Council

·      “Let’s talk about Tairawhiti” was a fantastic workshop to support staff and students to make submissions on the Gisborne District Council (GDC) Long Term Plan 2015-2025.  GDC councillors and the mayor were delighted to meet and workshop with our student leaders about what they want for the future. So impressed with some of our schools even  orally presenting their submissions to the council. We love empowered students who have great ideas about how to make Gisborne a sustainable community. 

 
The mayor Meng Foon showing our enviroschools how decisions get made in the Council Chambers. That’s our kids sitting in all the important chairs!


Whatatutu school thinking hard about what they want Tairawhiti look like in the next 10 years

Wānanga for 15 Secondary Enviroschools Students a real success!

A wānanga for 15 young environmental leaders in Southland was held at Te Kōawa Tūroa o Takitimu in February this year.  

The two day wānanga was the first of its kind for these students and was supported by an amazing local team of organisations.  The students were selected as representatives of the three southland secondary Enviroschools.

The two day event was the reflection of a partnership between one of our local runaka (Oraka Aparima) and our environmental education team.  It was designed to explore Māori perspectives of and in an environmental context.  Held at Te Koawa Turoa o Takitimi, a special place for mahika kai (producing and gathering of food) nestled in the shadow of the Takitimu mountains near Fiordland. 

Students took part in mihi, waiata and whakawhanaunga using taonga each student had brought with them. There was wananga on Kai Tahu whakapapa, kaitiakitanga, mauri and manākitanga.  

A hikoi up the valley led to discussions about building a seat up in the wetland beside a pond.  Students gathered resources, carried them up to the wetland, build and developed a name concept for the seat. The poroporoaki ended a magical two day hui. 

 More on this wonderful event here at Te panui

Poetry Slam Champ visits Nelson Enviroschools!

 Nelson Enviroschools were privileged to receive a visit from National Poetry Slam Champion Te Kahu Rolleston, at the end of Term one 2015. Te Kahu, whose official job title is ‘Poet,’ works for Te Aho Tū Roa, part of Toimata Foundation.  Fresh from the Pacifica festival, with an audience of 4000 people, we were extremely lucky to have him to work with our youth in Nelson, bringing his gifted brand of cool to inspire envirogroups . After a heros’ welcome where students already knew of his work, he went on to show the power that words can have as a tool to convey a message and initiate behaviour change in a relevant and appealing way to our students. 

Te Kahu visited 6 schools, as well as giving a public performance at the Elma Turner Library. Students were fortunate to workshop with him to produce their own poetry related to environmental issues. This also illustrated how it is possible to integrate environmental education within other curriculum areas, such as English, in an over stretched programme. His poetry strikes a chord with everyone who hears it and he also instilled confidence in the students to make some awesome performances of their writing. 

   

 A poem by Victor Ruhen from Victory School:

  

Yeah, as that rain falls down

I am thinking about how…

How much of that counts as a drop of life.

Like the flowers growing,

Like da trees bursting out of the ground…

 

And then I think of the people who can’t get to water

or rain

their pounding

their praying.

  

And the joy in their life,

when a drop of precious water hits their tongue.

Water Is Life.

Without water there would not be

Life.

Enviroschools Jams in Auckland for Secondary School Students

'Mini Green Jams' is a concept that has been put into action after the Auckland Secondary Schools Sustainability Conference, held in Term 1 this year.

The purpose of the regional mini jams in Auckland is to get a wider group of like-minded students together to empower and inspire one-another.  The jams also have been great in:

  • motivating host schools to get action happening and consolidate sustainability in their school
  • giving students practice of running sustainable events
  • keeping momentum up in all schools
  • tackling bigger actions in regions
  • making sustainability more mainstream 

The third mini Jam to happen in Auckland this year was at Glenfield College.  They hosted the latest Green Jam in their school marae and had a focus on Māori Perspectives in the environment, native plant seed sowing, recycling and a swap-meet.  

Find out more on their school website www.glenfieldcollege.school.nz/

       

Four other mini Green Jams have also been held this year!  St Kentigern College hosted the eastern, Waitakere  College in the west, Papatoetoe High School in the south and One Tree Hill College in central Auckland.  Keep up the momentum this is wonderful! 

 

Looking forward to enjoying the fruits and veges of their labour

With a garden makeover Awapuni School students are creating a little piece of paradise

 

Garden Blitzers: Awapuni School student Ana Carleton with rooms 1, 4, 6, 12, 14 and 15 in the backround. The students are all ready to get stuck in to the garden, turning the sea of yellow into a sea of green veges and fruit trees. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

It is not exactly the Garden of Eden but after the weekend Awapuni School students will be proud to call it their own piece of paradise. The school's large fruit and vege garden has been in a lacklustre state for a few years, but there is now a plan in place to revitalise it, starting with a facelift at a school-hosted community day.

"We have students' friends and whanau coming in to help rebuild and paint the garden beds and rip all the weeds out." said room 1 teacher Anna Wallis.

Progress so far has been a community affair. Eastland Port donated 10 cubic metres of mulch and Enviroschools has provided funding for irrigation. Awapuni School also got seeds from Enviroschools but not quite enough to fill their garden.

If you have any vegetable or fruit plants, or seeds you would like to donate contact the school during school hours on (06) 868-6660

Papatuanuku