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Enviroschools awards

Enviroschools awards North, Mid and South Canterbury and Christchurch

A growing and solid commitment to the environment by the younger generation is showing in the number of schools across Canterbury receiving their bronze Enviroschools awards in December, say Enviroschools educators.

The schools are Cust Primary School, North Canterbury (December 4), Marian College, Shirley, Christchurch, (December 5), Grantlea Downs, Timaru (December 7), Le Bons Bay School, Banks Peninsula, (December 11) and Carew Peel Forest School, Mid Canterbury, (December 14).

“Enviroschools students plan, design and create a sustainable school which benefits the school and the wider community, “says Sian Carvell, Enviroschools educator based at Environment Canterbury.

“By starting at the bronze level and working through silver to green-gold, school pupils progressively build a more sustainable environment for themselves and their wider school community,” she says.

Local regional councillors and district/city councillors will be invited to the Enviroschools awards at their appropriate school and media are welcome to attend.

Cust School is receiving the bronze award for one of their physical surroundings action projects - enhancing part of a stream/water race which is adjacent to the school and their living curriculum. Students right across the school had the theme Eco Piko this year (Piko is the schools pukeko learning mascot) and classes worked on a whole range of projects: from building their worm farm, making boxes for storing envelopes for recycling - one for each class, making paper, litter free lunches, sorting the recycling shed, and learning about their local stream, resulting in some fencing and planting of an area. Their school performance was based on “Eco Piko saves the world” and showed the parents and community how much they had learnt -including the environmental issues - from West Coast mining to Maori legends.

Carew Peel Forest School is receiving a bronze award for their living curriculum and a community action project. The school had "Down to Earth" as their theme for the whole year and have been learning about key concepts of biodiversity, interdependence, sustainability and how they can make a difference. Their year has included camping at the Peel Forest eco lodge (as part of an ecological buildings study) and being invited by DOC to become the Kaitiaki of the kahikatea forest at Clarke's Flat as part of a national partnership trial between Enviroschools and DOC. Students have learnt the local Maori legend of Huatekerekere and Tarahaoa, and how to make and use poi and about the traditional Maori instruments. They used tracking tunnels in the schools grounds as part of understanding threats to the forest ecosystem and helped DOC staff put up weta boxes. Their action project was to use their performance at the Geraldine and districts arts festival to educate people about the threats to their local forest Students made masks and costumes and helped write the words for their performance.

Grantlea Downs School has completed a vision map for their sustainable school showing all the existing contributors to sustainability and things they would like to do in the future. As a result of their vision this year they have completed two action projects for their bronze award - a physical surroundings one - the "forest" in their school grounds and an operational practices one - rebuilding their worm farms to take additional fruit and food scraps. Their forest was an area students identified they wanted to use more. So they created paths and bridges through the area and started to replant bare patches. They have also extended the forest to connect smaller patches and will be planting these up next year.

Since the school became a “fruit in schools” participant there has been an increase in fruit waste so a parent expert worked with students to create worm bins that would cope with the increase.

Marian College will receive a bronze Enviroschools award for "organisational management" and a physical surroundings action project. The school has a keen students envirogroup who have been looking at environmental practices within the school in particular with regards to waste They have been keeping everyone informed about environmental projects and have produced a care code for the school. An area of the school was identifiedas in need of enhancement and students from different areas within the school planted native species.

For their bronze award Le Bons Bay School completed an action project in the operational practices area. This meant they looked at the waste the school was producing and how they could reduce it. They did a lot of learning around waste including taking part in a CCC “waste of a day out” programme. (Consequently their other area for the award was the Living Curriculum). As a result of that they have decided to use the bokashi system for their food scraps, have installed bins for recyclable materials, and looked at stopping some of the waste coming into the school in the first place.

They are also involved in the white flippered penguin project where the school is working with DOC and the community to protect the local penguins. Also related to this and as a result of their waste unit, one of the students ( Ruby) was really keen to make reusable shopping bags. This idea has developed so that the students are going to print on calico bags penguin designs and information about the project which will be sold in the local community.


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