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Water babies give N Shore school an Auckland first

Water babies give North Shore school an Auckland first

December 2, 2005

Windy Ridge Primary in Glenfield is the first school in the Auckland region to adopt a whole school approach to a regional water quality,
education and action programme as part of its main curriculum.

Teachers at Windy Ridge, one of North Shore City's 11 enviroschools, decided that rather than targeting certain age groups, they
wanted to incorporate a healthy water topic into a school-wide curriculum.

Wai Care, a community-based healthy water programme linking community groups, schools and councils with the goal of clean and
healthy waterways, was identified as the ideal programme for Windy Ridge to become involved in.

In the past, Wai Care has mainly been aimed at the nine to 12-year-old age group in schools, but North Shore City Council Wai Care
facilitator, Jo Harrison, was keen to come up with a programme that would suit the needs of Windy Ridge.

"Windy Ridge is the first school in the Auckland region where the whole school has gone through the regional Wai Care programme, which
is quite an achievement," she says.

"We'd never delivered the Wai Care programme to children in their first year of school and it was quite a challenge to find something
imaginative, relevant and more importantly, safe for five year-olds to do around water.

"We took our water babies to the Eskdale stream near the waterfall in Hiwihau Reserve along with all of the senior classes. While the older
children tested water quality by looking at temperature, oxygen and acidity levels, the younger children had a ball doing fun activities which
showed them how murky water made it difficult for fish and macroinvertabrates (bugs) to find their way, feed and escape predators.

"Each small group had to pick the 'best bug' that they had found in the stream and tell the rest of the class about it. On one of our stream
visits, as well as a huge range of different bugs for the children, we caught a common bully and a beautiful koura. The children were
particularly excited by the crayfish, which is a rare find and an indication of good water quality," says Ms Harrison.

Windy Ridge Primary School is continuing enthusiastically with its environmental activities and is aiming to joining North Shore City's
Verran Primary School in achieving the Enviroschools prestigious Green Gold Award.

ENDS

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