On June 5th, fittingly coinciding with World Environment Day, Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) Hawke’s Bay and the Air New Zealand Environment Trust celebrated the signing of a memorandum of understanding expressing their intention to further the Ōtatāra Environmental Education Centre and to work together to push environmental issues.
The Air New Zealand Environment Trustees have agreed to fund part of the development of the Ōtatāra site, located beneath the Ōtatāra Pā, overlooking the Hawke’s Bay campus. The purpose of the centre is to provide an inspirational learning space for use by EIT staff and students, local schools, community groups and businesses.
“The underpinning objective of the centre is to improve awareness of the importance of environmental issues such as the sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity conservation and promotion of ecological intelligence. The new outdoor learning space will provide us with the opportunity to develop a greater sense of personal responsibility in relation to ensuring a sustainable future for all,” says executive dean for EIT, Professor Natalie Waran.
This project is a collaboration between EIT, Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Ngāti Pārau, Enviroschools, Cape to City, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Dame Anne Salmond’s ‘Wild Lab’ at Long Bush, and Mangarara Eco-Farm.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this collaboration which is enabling kids and adults alike to fall in love with nature, so that protecting and nurturing nature will become business as usual for them.” – Melissa Brignall-Theyer, Engagement Lead for Cape to City.
The centre will provide real possibilities for enriching existing educational programmes, developing new programmes, engaging with students, community groups, schools and researchers.