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Picture perfect end to summer at Long Bay

March 13, 2006

Picture perfect end to summer at Long Bay

The winning team from Albany Junior High School. From the left: Laura Falkner, Carla Boniolo, Isabelle Russell and Ashleigh Perry.

It was a picture perfect day at Long Bay beach on Friday March 10 when 24 teams were challenged to create a winning sculpture in the sands of one of North Shore City’s most popular sun spots.

Almost 100 children from 15 local schools took part in the sand sculpture competition, which is North Shore City Council’s contribution to ‘Seaweek’ - an annual celebration of our marine environment co-ordinated by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education.

North Shore City Council’s Wai Care facilitator, Jo Harrison, says the aim of the competition was to educate and raise community awareness of the link between pollution, the stormwater system, streams and the marine environment.

“Anything that we put down an outside drain will end up in our streams, and eventually the sea,” she says. “We need to help people understand how everything is connected and how their actions impact on our marine environment.

“Seaweek provides an opportunity for us to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our waterways,” says the environmental scientist and former teacher.

New Zealand yachtsman and environmentalist Mark Orams was there to judge the sand sculpture competition and share his passion for coastal conservation.

“The best kind of educational experiences are those which involve getting out there and doing things,” he says. “It allows children to express their creativity.”

Dr Orams was joined by fellow yachtie Joe Allen (Team NZ), a representative from the Department of Conservation and North Shore City Council’s environmental education coordinator, Trish Kirkland-Smith, to help decide which teams would win the array of prizes on offer.

Albany Junior High School’s Harakeke team took home the overall grand prize of $500, donated by Westpac, for it’s original and thought-provoking design reflecting people’s role in the destruction of the environment.

“Our sculpture has three tiers; the first level is the environment, on top of that is pollution and then the human hand covers them both,” says student Carla Boniolo. “It shows how we have the power to stop marine pollution.”

Joe Allen says it was a stand-out design with a great message “It was fantastic to see that they were accepting responsibility for the sea.”

Hato Petera College’s Moana team created another winning design, picking up first prize in the college category.

“It was a definite winner for me,” says Mark Orams. “It had multiple meanings, incorporating Maori symbolism interlinking between sharks as a symbol of the ocean.”

Other first prize winners included Verran School’s Pufferfish team for the junior primary category, St Mary’s School’s Currents team for the senior primary category and Albany Junior High School’s Harakeke team for the intermediate category.

North Shore City Council puts a lot of emphasis on water quality protection and is involved in a number of environmental initiatives and programmes, including Wai Care, the Great Drain Game, the SafeSwim programme and Tina and Tane. Check out the council’s website www.northshorecity.govt.nz for more information.


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