Local Enviroschools collaborate and contribute to help grow a Sustainable Waitaki Community

| By Enviroschools Otago

Waitaki Enviroschools 2020

Enviroschools is a holistic approach to the development of sustainable communities. Enviroschools has a kaupapa of creating a healthy, peaceful, sustainable world through learning and taking action together.

As part of their reflective practice, each Enviroschool completes an annual review of their sustainability highlights and achievements over the year, along with identifying challenges, plans and aspirations for the upcoming year. Below is a summary of the amazing mahi schools are doing in their schools and communities and the difference that Enviroschools is making.

2020 was a challenging year for everyone and we want to mihi the teachers and students for their energy and passion for creating a more sustainable world.

Waitaki Enviroschools overview:

14 Schools and 3 ECE centres in Waitaki are Enviroschools. As well as the facilitator supporting schools directly, in 2020 we ran regular cluster meetings for teachers, a Senior Secondary student hui, a Secondary teacher hui, and a Primary student hui. Along with everyone else we started to utilise digital communication tools. We ran cluster meetings for teachers and developed a series of weekly challenges for teachers in term 3.

Enviroschools has made a difference to Waitaki schools and ECE centres in ways such as:


Picking salad greens (and purples!)

  • students being engaged and learning authentically,
  • students getting real leadership opportunities – (they are very driven, articulate and organised),
  • the students loving being part of the Enviroschools community and connecting with other schools in the area,
  • contributing to resilience this year,
  • Enviroschools enabling school to have a voice of authenticity when talking about sustainability,
  • really challenging us into thinking about sustainability in all our practices,
  • helping us to connect to other people,
  • the Envirogroup lobbying their BoT to ensure sustainability is included in all policies (this included involving students in hiring a new caretaker),
  • students investigating carpet composition and taking their case to the BoT (who decided to buy wool carpet for the school),
  • sharing food with whole school and community.

Tamariki take action:

Oamaru Intermediate upcyclers worked to create bags. There is a lot of maths involved!

Waitaki tamariki are making a difference in their school and communities in many different ways:

All schools and centres took action on waste through a range of ways: waste audits, clean ups (school grounds and in the community), waste free lunches and events, plastic free days, food waste action (compost, worm farms, chickens), using reusable containers, waste-free periods, glitter-free school, and fundraising through selling beeswax wraps.

80% of Enviroschools took action to look after the whenua through aspects such as: cultivating food gardens and native gardens at school, being involved in community planting projects, pest monitoring and trapping, keeping bees and installing a new beehive.

90% of Waitaki Enviroschools took action to look after water by: focused on reducing water use, investigating what happens to waste water and storm water. Stream restoration, water testing. Installing a water tank. 2020 Primary hui had a water theme.

The new whare at the kindergarten.

64% of Enviroschools took action on energy and eco buildings by: using energy wisely, learning about forms of energy, e.g. solar energy, changing from coal to wood chip for heating.


Re-useable water bombs.







Facilitating connections:


Soil health was explored in a range of ways at Maheno Hall.

The Soil your Undies project captured the interest of students attending the hui at Maheno Hall.









This is why only rain should go down the drain.

Enviroschools facilitates connections with citizen science programmes and with community groups. Students learnt a lot about their local environments through a range of projects including:

Aqua Van 

Litter Intelligence

Marine Meter Squared

Red billed Gill study

Soil Your Undies 



Banner image: The clean-up team – Mahi Ngātahi.