News and Events

Ōtātara Outdoor Learning Centre – EIT is a Finalist for the Green Gown Awards Australasia

September 24, 2020

Recently it was announced that EIT is a finalist candidate for the Green Gown Awards (delivered by Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability). The Awards are open to all Australasian tertiary institutions and EIT is the only NZ ITP featuring in the awards and only one of two NZ Tertiary institutions to be announced as finalists.

Their application is entitled Connecting our Communities through Learning in Nature for the Benefitting Society category, and shared how their immersive Learning in Nature space enhances the lives of individuals by connecting them with nature, cultural heritage and the community through landscape and the curriculum.

Recognising exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by the world’s universities and colleges, the International Green Gown Awards set the bar and put every learning institution at the heart of delivering the UN Global Goals. The winning entry will automatically be put forward for the International Green Gown Award for Benefitting Society.

Here’s a summary of the EIT application:
The development of an immersive Learning in Nature space promotes values of sustainability in Aotearoa/NZ, enhancing the lives of individuals by connecting them with nature, cultural heritage and the community through landscape and the curriculum. This project is an innovative collaboration between the major tertiary education provider (EIT), local indigenous hapū (Māori kinship group) (Ngāti Pārau), central and local government agencies (Te Papa Atawhai /Department of Conservation, Hawke’s Bay (HB) Regional Council), and local environmental groups that include Predator Free HB, and Enviroschools.

The Ōtātara Outdoor Learning Centre (OOLC) promotes nature as a context for learning across all areas of the curriculum for all levels from early childhood to post graduate education. Engagement with the space provides individuals the opportunity to develop a sense of personal responsibility in relation to ensuring a sustainable future and to consider the impact of their (in)actions for the region and nationally.

If you would like to know more about ACTS, the EIT submission or other projects which, “inspire, promote and support change towards best practice sustainability within the operations, curriculum and research of the tertiary education sector” then please check out the ACTS website. Winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on 26 November.

The outdoor space has its official opening in mid-November. Bookings are now being taken for 2021. The space includes a new covered outdoor platform and toilet block. Visitors to the space can visit the native gully with a lovely view at the top. There is also a newly planted Rongoa garden.

More information is available on their facebook page and check out the online resources and information for Ōtātara Outdoor Learning Centre.


Banner image: Rongoa gardens at Ōtātara Outdoor Learning Centre