Environmental action programme Enviroschools is becoming well established in Clutha.
The nationwide programme, supported by Toimata Foundation, Te Mauri Tau, a national network of 15 regional partners, 49 territorial local authorities and 19 early childhood associations, is busy in more than 1000 schools and 450 early childhood centres across New Zealand, including 88 schools and 12 early childhood centres in Otago.
‘‘We’re now connecting with over 23,500 tamariki and students around Otago,’’ Enviroschools regional coordinator Robyn Zink said.
‘‘Our kaupapa guides all that we do and is embodied in five guiding principles which underpin the whole.
‘‘It’s really inspiring to see how motivated young people are to create positive change in their schools and communities in Otago.’’
She said the Enviroschools kaupapa was about creating a healthy, peaceful, sustainable world through learning and taking action together, with young people ‘‘empowered to connect with and explore the environment, then plan, design and take action in their local places in collaboration with their communities’’.
Locally, Waiwera South School did a waste audit aimed towards reduction and recycling, Waitahuna Primary School is working with farmers’ catchment groups with riparian planting and water testing, and Clutha Valley School worked with other volunteers to pick up half a tonne of roadside rubbish.
‘‘Since environmental action is a part of the Enviroschools programme, it is so important to see the enthusiastic young children of our future take ownership of community days like the clean-up of the roadside adjacent to Clutha Valley School,’’ Enviroschools facilitator Scott Martin said.
‘‘Once all the rubbish was brought to the school and spread out we could comprehend the scale of roadside rubbish. Enviroschools is all about empowering young people to design and lead sustainability projects.’’
Clutha Valley School teacher Fiona Wilson said the learning benefits of being an Enviroschool were ‘‘enormous’’.
‘‘It has a holistic approach to learning and encourages collaboration and connections in hands-on learning experiences with various community groups.
‘‘This shows the students what can be done when they work together to achieve something, encouraging children going forward to care about the world around us [with] sustainable practices,’’ she said.
More about Enviroschools is at enviroschools.org.nz .