Recently students at Waikawa Bay School enthusiastically led a Silver Enviroschools reflection. At Waikawa Bay School they are certainly immersed in their natural world. They are part of a small settlement to the north east of Picton, Marlborough and the bay opens onto Queen Charlotte Sound.
‘Live and Learn the Waikawa Way – Kia Whakamiharo. Immersed in our natural world, watch us grow and make a change!’ – Waikawa Bay school’s vision
The school is integral to its community, with strong connections between school life and the surrounding environment, the extended school whānau, the nearby Waikawa Marae and local organisations and places like Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary and Envirohub Marlborough.
Senior students check, clear and rebait their pest trapline every other day, and record their catch data to measure their impact. Helping with the school pest trapping project had led to students having pest traps at home or volunteering in community trapping projects.
Students take part in ‘bush school’ every week: learning and playing at and in their local beaches, rivers and forests. School beach clean-ups have inspired students and their families to take part in weekend community clean-ups.
Over the last few years, nearly all of the students have taken part in river studies at the nearby Waikawa Stream and have learnt about why it is important that only rain goes down the drain. Students have also spent time at Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary and at Momorangi conservation area learning about what makes these places so special.
All students spend time planting, weeding, harvesting and learning in the edible gardens.
It is clear that much of the learning that happens at the school is being transferred on to whānau and the wider community. The respect and care that these children show for their living planet is spreading far beyond the school gate.
An important part of Enviroschools holistic reflection is identifying the next steps: continue their trapping programme and data collection; plans for a bilingual classroom; expand the outdoor learning programme; create a school forest area; create a cookbook from edible garden sessions; start monitoring effectiveness of fish on drains programme; investigate companion planting to attract bees; extend beach clean ups by getting involved with Sustainable Coastlines ‘Litter Intelligence’ programme.
Students at Waikawa Bay School have some big plans and we can’t wait to see them happen! Mahi tika ana – great work team!
Banner image: Waikawa Bay School students proudly show their edible gardens to visitors during a sharing and decision-making day.