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School Turns Environmental Education Into Action

Christchurch School Turns Environmental Education Into Environmental Action

After taking part in WWF's Coast to the High Country programme, the students of New Brighton Catholic School are focusing their interest in conservation on to their closest surroundings - their school grounds.

The Coast to the High Country programme, a cooperative initiative based in Christchurch (supported by Christchurch College of Education, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, DoC, Canterbury Environment Trust, World Wide Fund For Nature and Shell New Zealand) is a three-day, outdoor, educational experience which starts at Pegasus Bay on the coast and ends at the Environmental Education Centre of New Zealand at Craigieburn in the high country.

Since participating in the programme, New Bright Catholic School students have planned a number of environmental improvements to their school by identifying unattractive and unused areas, and creating an action plan. After coming up with the plan, students met with teachers and other school staff to discuss their ideas and narrow the plan into a manageable project.

Students and teachers have decided to redevelop an outdoor area into an "outdoor classroom", which will be planted with native trees in "sympathetic clusters". The clusters have been developed to attract native birds, provide shade and shelter from the wind, and to remind the community about the importance of our country's native species.

Jude Callaghan, a teacher at the school, said the programme made a real impact on the students. "The children really got a lot out of the Coast to the High Country programme - it's incredible how much information they remembered."

The students learned about all aspects this kind of project, such the need to get permission from the city council and getting environmental advice from professionals. "It was all their idea - they wanted to find a way to bring native birds into the school grounds, and they knew the only way to do that was to create the right habitat by planting native species."

Tree planting will begin on Friday, September 15 at New Brighton Catholic School.

For further information contact WWF's Environmental Education teacher Toby Johnson on (03) 343 7780 ext. 8333# or WWF's Communications Manager Anna Thomson on (04) 499 2930.

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