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Enviroschools Awards launched!

Enviroschools Awards launched!

Schools throughout the country can be rewarded for taking positive steps towards creating a sustainable school community, through the Enviroschools Awards scheme launched today. Environment Minister Marian Hobbs and Verran School students in Birkenhead, North Shore city, are launching the nation-wide Enviroschools Award scheme today with a ceremony at the primary school.

“Environmental educators have an integrated, nationwide framework in which many existing environmental education programmes can play a part,” Marian Hobbs said.

Enviroschools Awards are available to all schools at all levels. It is an incentive scheme for schools to become actively involved in environmental education and to undertake environmental initiatives that will make a real difference in their communities.

The awards scheme involves the whole school. This includes students, teachers, parents, the board of trustees and non-teaching staff and members of the local community, such as councils and businesses.

The awards scheme offers schools a framework of projects and activities, across four areas of school life: organisational management, operational practices, physical surroundings and curriculum.

Schools can complete the requirements for one or more areas and apply for bronze, silver, or green-gold awards to recognise their level of achievement.

“The Enviroschools Awards scheme rewards school communities for their sustainable environmental actions and encourages them to continue improving sustainable practices. It’s like a triple-bottom line for good school management,” said ARC chairperson, Gwen Bull.

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“The purpose is to encourage schools to become a sustainable community, incorporating best environmental practices that will carry over into everyone’s everyday life,” said Cr Bull.

The kinds of actions that schools will be involved in include reducing waste, conserving energy, involving students in decision-making, learning about better environmental practices and protecting and enhancing native biodiversity.

Schools can also gain credits for participating in regional environmental initiatives, such as in the ARC’s The Big Clean Up household environmental programme in the Auckland region.

Schools will be supported by dedicated environmental educators from local and regional councils and the Education Advisory Service for schools, funded by the Ministry of Education.

The awards scheme was developed by environmental educator Hilary Chidlow and colleagues at the Auckland Regional Council, working in partnership with leading environmental educators throughout the country, including Heidi Mardon from Enviroschools and Barry Law from the Christchurch College of Education.

“I congratulate the environmental educators who have worked together to produce this nation-wide Awards scheme. It gives schools standards to continuously judge themselves by and to aim for, in creating a sustainable community,” Marian Hobbs said.

“One of the strengths of this scheme is that it is a collaborative effort across New Zealand’s major environmental education networks. It builds on and draws everyone’s work together.

“Parents and teachers – spread the word! If you are involved with a school in your community, encourage the school to work towards an award.”

Ms Chidlow already has expressions of interest from about 40 schools in the Auckland region who want to aim for an award in 2003.

Schools across the country are encouraged to register their interest in the Enviroschools Awards scheme through http:// http://www.enviroschools.org.nz or in the Auckland region through http:// http://www.arc.govt.nz.

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