News and Events

Tasman and Nelson Caretakers Come Together

February 16, 2023

In Term 4, 2022 a group of caretakers from Nelson and Tasman schools came together for a hui at Birchwood School, Stoke. Thanks to Camilla and Karen for hosting us and showing us around. Some highlights included their raised garden beds, lovely shade trees and the tool shed. Also loads of wonderful art and happy vibes.

Rick from Nelson Enviroschools put on the morning tea and gave an inspiring talk about the key role caretakers play within the school community. There are so many ways caretakers can be involved in Enviroschools and Education for Sustainability.  From installing enviropods to removing litter from school drains, helping with waste audits and taking steps to minimise waste, keeping the grounds tidy, trees pruned, composting and gardening. Caretakers have a large role to play in the kaitiakitanga of a school and can influence how the tamariki interact and find a place within their environment.

Checking out the Hansa mulcher.

This hui was an opportunity for connections to be made and inspiration gained from across Nelson and Tasman. Some robust discussions were had about tools and equipment, with Karen at Birchwood School showing us her awesome tool shed and all the toys inside!  Karen has been enjoying a new Hansa mulcher to process her tree prunings onsite, saving green waste disposal costs and keeping this resource within the school ecosystem by producing a great mulch to go around trees and gardens.

Other discussions were had about sharing equipment across schools or teaming up for bulk equipment purchases, and experiences with camera and alarm technologies.  Pool management was another area of interest, and there was a suggestion to have a whole hui focused on swimming pools in 2023.

After the morning at Birchwood, we carpooled to the York Valley landfill to find out where all the rubbish goes. The scale of the landfill is so vast and a sensory overload.  While we were there, we observed a truck dumping chairs from another school. These were recognised as a resource by the visiting caretakers and quickly snapped up to be repurposed at their school!  As the saying goes, one person’s waste is another person’s treasure! This experience highlighted the importance of relationships and sharing/giving and communicating so that landfill is a last option.

This hui highlighted the valued contributions of caretakers, and how they are role models who can shape attitudes and behaviours within the school.

Sharing stories.

The view at the landfill.