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Enterprising schools win environmental grants


Enterprising schools win environmental grants

Seventeen enterprising schools have won funding for environmental projects ranging from saving some of New Zealand's most threatened plants, to filming the impact of protected and non-protected marine areas on local sea life.

Associate Environment Minister Nanaia today announced the winners of the New Zealand Glass Environmental Fund at Mercury Bay Area School, Whitianga, which is among those receiving grants for projects that promote environmental awareness and sustainability in their communities.

"I'm delighted to congratulate the schools who have won funding. Their projects demonstrate a high level of student involvement and development of important partnerships with other agencies in their communities," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"It is also fantastic to see some very innovative and interesting projects developed by the schools and students involved, and I'd like to encourage other schools to come up with their own creative ideas about how to preserve our environment."

Sponsored by O-I New Zealand, the fund offers a total of $25,000 in grants to encourage studies that give young people an understanding of the importance and the fragility of the environment. A key focus is on encouraging wider community involvement in environmental issues, with teachers and students encouraged to work with agencies such as local councils, the Department of Conservation (DoC), Forest and Bird, parents, MPs and others. The schools will receive grants ranging from $350 to $5000.

Among the more enterprising ideas this year is the project by Mercury Bay Area School, which involves students teaming up with local DoC area staff and using underwater cameras to compare the flora and fauna of their marine reserve against that of a neighbouring non-protected area.

Greymouth's Paroa School and Wairarapa's Gladstone School also came up with innovative projects to propagate two endangered native plants respectively – the colourful and rare coastal sand-binding plant Pingao; and the Coprosma violacea, or mikimiki, considered one of New Zealand's most threatened plants.

The 17 schools to win funding are: Aberfeldy School (Wanganui), Dargaville School Northland – two projects), Gladstone School (Wairarapa), Hilltop School (Taupo), Howick Intermediate School (Auckland), Laingholm Kindergarten (Auckland), Marlborough Boys College (Blenheim), Mercury Bay Area School (Whitianga), Oruaiti School (Northland), Paroa School (Greymouth), Rangitoto College (Auckland), Redhills Community Kindergarten (Auckland), St Mary’s College (Auckland), Spotswood Primary School (New Plymouth), Southwell School (Hamilton), and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Wairarapa (Masterton).

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