You might be surprised to know that there is a small urban school in the heart of Wellington with a roll of just 70 students.
With tiny footprints on the ground, it is even more surprising what the students and wider community are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. Enviroschools is embedded in their curriculum, aiming to equip young people with the competencies they need to be leaders in sustainability.
Clifton Terrace Model School spent a day with their guests, Enviroschools Facilitators Arihia, Gill and Robyn, to share their Enviroschools stories and reflect on the Enviroschools Green-Gold paragraph.
The Green Geckos envirogroup proudly told the visitors about how they had reduced not only school rubbish (through healthy litterless lunch boxes, bokashi buckets reusing, recycling and composting) but had been active in removal of rubbish in their local Tokyo Lane as part of Keep NZ Beautiful week.
One project even engaged with local university students through a rather clever pamphlet drop to encourage more responsible waste behaviour.
This school has been a solar-powered school (in partnership with Schoolgen) for some years now and are even selling back to the grid.
An initiative to replace all lights with LED is another example of a community partnership that has led to reduced power consumption (although a full audit has not yet been completed as a year is not up).
The small garden space is a living space with food gardens and native plants – many having special meaning for the school or in memory of those lost.
A new war memorial is the result of a long learning enquiry of a memorial removed in the motorway construction, honouring past pupils whose lives were lost in the World Wars.
The stunning result was a project guided by a parent and local historian in the school community.
The limited garden space at Clifton Terrace school has been a challenge for providing opportunities for students to learn about growing fruit and vegetables.
One of the things that the students want to find out more about is where they could visit in their wider community to regularly participate to build their knowledge and skills.
This is simply an extension of the positive engagement in, about and for the environment outside the school gates. that is happening at this school.
All students at this school are involved in learning and action towards a sustainable world. Global issues are researched, and locally relevant solutions are explored and actioned.
Connections with the natural world are deepened through a range of Education Outside The Classroom experiences – Otari Wilton’s Bush, Botanic Gardens, a Bioblitz at Zealandia, beach clean-ups with sustainable coastline and planting at a local stream reserve.
An “Agreenment” guides the whole school in sustainable practices and environmental their relationship with the environment.
A “Hui Board” is a place where all students can raise a concern and have it addressed. Green days offer a range of activities run by the Green Geckos for the whole school.
Students at CTMS are unafraid of lobbying their wider community (which includes parliament) – they have challenged people to stop using plastic straws, petitioned for a plastic bag ban, and sold reusable bags as an alternative.
As part of recording of the current situation, the school carried out a community survey which has provided some insight into the success of the programmes offered at the school and given ideas for the future.
The decision-making team recorded a wealth of evidence and this creative group had no trouble coming up with a suite of well-considered next steps (no pressure Clifton Terrace!).
With a building renovation project being embarked upon in the near future, the school will be using a green lens to ensure that they are making ecologically sound decisions.
With the creativity and commitment of this school community, there is no doubt that the Enviroschools kaupapa will continue to be woven through school life.