Matawai School recognised for environmental focus

School to become the second in region to achieve green-gold status in Enviroschools programme.

School to become the second in region to achieve green-gold status in Enviroschools programme.

COMMUNITY FOCUS: During its Enviroschools reflection day, guests toured Matawai School’s many enviromental projects, including the shadehouse used for propagating native seedlings before planting them back in the community. Pictured at the back are Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Joe Waikari, mayor Meng Foon and teacher Robyn Shaw. In the middle are teacher Amie Williams, Rocky Smyth-Jones and Rhiannon Skipper. In the front are Iris Jones, Isabel Redpath and Blake Redpath. Picture by Liam Clayton

A NATIVE plant nursery, bountiful vegetable garden, worm farm and composting system are part of the everyday lives of students and staff at Matawai School.

Those activities, and how they engage the wider community, enabled Matawai to become only the second school in the region to achieve green-gold status in the Enviroschools programme.

The native plants help restore and enhance native birdlife, and the fresh produce is used by students in their cooking classes and distributed to the wider community.

“They are not just doing it to ‘be green’. It is a holistic approach,” says Kirsty Gaddum of Tairawhiti Enviroschools.

The school entered the programme in 2008 and all students from Year 1 to Year 8 and staff are involved.

Established in 1993, Enviroschools encourages schools to “foster a generation of people who instinctively think and act sustainably”.

It takes into account five guiding principles: sustainable communities, empowered students, sustainability, Maori perspectives and respect for the diversity of people and culture.

On Friday, during a tour to demonstrate its practices, the school achieved the highest Enviroschool status of “green/gold”.

“The idea is to make things more sustainable so they are able to be passed on to future generations,” says Year 6 student Quinn Redpath.

Fun way to learn

“It is a fun way to learn about what is around us.”

The “vision map” encourages the kids to design projects based on the guiding principles. One idea was to grow native seedlings and plant them locally.

“Planting trees that bees, birds and insects like helps the whole community,” says Quinn.

He has noticed attitudes change in the school throughout the Enviroschools programme.

“People at school have started to value the environment. There are fewer wrappers and they are respecting the plants.”

Year 8 student Maggie Hustler says it has been a good chance to go outside and learn about the environment.

“I loved being able to see the plants grow from seeds all the way through.”

Moving on to high school next year, she says the programme has sparked her interest in science and the environment.

Principal Glenn Knight says the award recognises how they have made environmental considerations and sustainability a “big part of everyday life at the school”.

“It is not just about what happens in the school but the entire community.

“The community garden is part of that vision, with the food going back out into the community, and replanting native species in the area to bring the native birds back.

“Every child knows and follows ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. It is not just token, but a part of life at the school.

“This recognition sets a precedent for Matawai School for every student and staff member who passes through our school in the future.”

Attendees for the tour included friends and families of the students, Turanga Health, Department of Conservation staff, Mind Lab and mayor Meng Foon.

There are 25 Enviroschools in the Gisborne area, involving 4587 students. Ngatapa School is the only other one with green-gold status, achieved in 2013.

A NATIVE plant nursery, bountiful vegetable garden, worm farm and composting system are part of the everyday lives of students and staff at Matawai School.

Those activities, and how they engage the wider community, enabled Matawai to become only the second school in the region to achieve green-gold status in the Enviroschools programme.

The native plants help restore and enhance native birdlife, and the fresh produce is used by students in their cooking classes and distributed to the wider community.

“They are not just doing it to ‘be green’. It is a holistic approach,” says Kirsty Gaddum of Tairawhiti Enviroschools.

The school entered the programme in 2008 and all students from Year 1 to Year 8 and staff are involved.

Established in 1993, Enviroschools encourages schools to “foster a generation of people who instinctively think and act sustainably”.

It takes into account five guiding principles: sustainable communities, empowered students, sustainability, Maori perspectives and respect for the diversity of people and culture.

On Friday, during a tour to demonstrate its practices, the school achieved the highest Enviroschool status of “green/gold”.

“The idea is to make things more sustainable so they are able to be passed on to future generations,” says Year 6 student Quinn Redpath.

Fun way to learn

“It is a fun way to learn about what is around us.”

The “vision map” encourages the kids to design projects based on the guiding principles. One idea was to grow native seedlings and plant them locally.

“Planting trees that bees, birds and insects like helps the whole community,” says Quinn.

He has noticed attitudes change in the school throughout the Enviroschools programme.

“People at school have started to value the environment. There are fewer wrappers and they are respecting the plants.”

Year 8 student Maggie Hustler says it has been a good chance to go outside and learn about the environment.

“I loved being able to see the plants grow from seeds all the way through.”

Moving on to high school next year, she says the programme has sparked her interest in science and the environment.

Principal Glenn Knight says the award recognises how they have made environmental considerations and sustainability a “big part of everyday life at the school”.

“It is not just about what happens in the school but the entire community.

“The community garden is part of that vision, with the food going back out into the community, and replanting native species in the area to bring the native birds back.

“Every child knows and follows ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. It is not just token, but a part of life at the school.

“This recognition sets a precedent for Matawai School for every student and staff member who passes through our school in the future.”

Attendees for the tour included friends and families of the students, Turanga Health, Department of Conservation staff, Mind Lab and mayor Meng Foon.

There are 25 Enviroschools in the Gisborne area, involving 4587 students. Ngatapa School is the only other one with green-gold status, achieved in 2013.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support Labour’s plan, if elected to government later this year, to co-invest up to $20 million in a prefabricated building plant in Gisborne?