Seven reach Enviroschools milestones

6 Jan 2016

Five Northland schools and two kindergartens have reached important milestones through the national Enviroschools programme.

Northland Regional Council chairman Bill Shepherd says 71 Northland schools and five kindergartens are now in the programme, a school-wide approach to sustainability.

"Funded in Northland by the regional council. Enviroschools is all about young people designing and creating sustainable schools/kindergartens, ecosystems and local neighbourhoods."

Councillor Shepherd says the programme has its own system to recognise the way participating schools and kindergartens embed a sustainability philosophy. The recognition comes in three bands; Bronze, Silver and the vary-rarely presented Green-Gold, which just a handful of Northland schools hold.

He says four Northland schools and one kindergarten achieved 'Silver' status last year; Kamo Primary, Kokopu, Parua Bay and Riverview Schools and Comrie Park Kindergarten. They join just 10 others to have reached Silver over the past nine years. Meanwhile, Kerikeri Kindergarten and Taipa Area School had achieved Bronze status in 2015.

Councillor Shepherd says Kamo Primary School's proactive 'E Team' has responsibilities for keeping up with a growing number of sustainability areas. Classes have been involved in planting and caring for Hodges Park and Pukenui Forest and the school boasts a WaiNursery shade house.

Kokopu School students are committed to taking on the tasks of designing and building, including a WaiNursery and raised gardens. The school also worked with the Mangere Catchment Group at a local riparian planting day and invited another Enviroschool (Poroti) to take part.

Parua Bay has school-wide involvement in a wide range of environmental action. It established a planted walkway to its local estuary and several school groups are involved in planting days with local Landcare bodies and with kiwi protection work.

Riverview School's 'Eco Warriors' closely manage its environmental work including a newly-established sustainability area incorporating recycled materials. Several student groups are involved with pest control and planting, including via Project Island Song. A school production 'Up the Water Spout' was written by teachers and students to share an environmental protection message.

Comrie Park Kindergarten held a very successful Enviroschools Expo. It has had a huge growth in Maori perspectives, including pepeha development and Matariki celebrations. Children have worked on a wide range of projects including gardens, a mud kitchen, butterflies and chickens.

Kerikeri Kindergarten's Bronze recognises its committment to the Enviroschools journey, including charges to its practises and steps towards being a sustainable kindergarten community. It has developed a range of additive-free foods grown, made and eaten by kindergarten families.

Taipa Area School's Bronze status recognises an ongoing junior school commitment to sustainability, supported by secondary pupils, the latter via Project Possum and WaiFencing projects. The school has a new shade house courtesy of the Taipa Beach CoastCare group which supports its student 'Green Team' with expertise and plants.

Councillor Shepherd says the regional council congratulates all the 2015 recipients, who are making a 'real difference' to their local communities.

"My fellow councillors and I are very proud to be associated with this programme and encourage Northland Enviroschools to keep up the great work!"

He says information on Enviroschools is available from the regional council's website via: www.nrc.govt.nz/enviroschools