School steps up sustainability in a big way — and wins award

School grows its own brain food

School grows its own brain food

ECO-WARRIORS: Hatea-a-Rangi School in Tokomaru Bay is the latest Tairawhiti school to earn the Enviroschools bronze award. Eco-warriors Unique Williams, Ciara Rangiwai, Ereti Moana-Matete, Megan Beach-Ross, Renee Muller and Tuini Hawke with the award presented in July. Picture by Rebecca Trafford

SUSTAINABLE FUTURE: Hatea-a-Rangi School pupil Megan Beach-Ross taking part in a planting session as part of the Tokomaru Bay school's Back to Native project, supported by Tairawhiti Enviroschools. Picture by Rebecca Trafford

HATEA-A-RANGI School’s greater focus on sustainability and enhancing its natural environment has earned it a bronze award in the Enviroschools programme.

The Tokomaru Bay school has been working on a range of initiatives over the past few years, including to reduce waste, grow their own food and better connect with nature.

They launched their Back to Native project in June, to develop an outdoor classroom to conserve and protect native species, improve the school’s environment and create a place where students can learn about nature, rongoa (natural medicines) and the environment first-hand.

In July, they were given the bronze Enviroschools award from Tairawhiti Enviroschools’ facilitator Kauri Forno.

During the award day, the school invited the community along for mara kai (food garden) maintenance, planting 14 more trees in the orchard, planting just under 100 more native plants into the coastal entrance garden and doing some preparation for Stage 1 of the Back to Native walkway planting.

The students had to provide evidence in each of the five guiding principles: empowered students, learning for sustainability, Maori perspectives, diversity of people and cultures, and sustainable communities.

“We have come a long way in the last few years but have particularly stepped it up this year with a much greater focus on sustainable practices to ensure that our waste management system is consistently successful,” teacher Rebecca Trafford said.

Students have been taking those principles outside the classroom, increasing recycling in their homes.

The programme takes a holistic approach, incorporating sustainability with healthier eating practices, including with kai grown themselves.

The school’s chickens are housed in a coop the students designed with recycled materials. They are producing so many eggs, they sell the eggs they don’t use each week to the wider community.

The vegetable and native gardens are also thriving, boosted by nutrients provided by the worm farm.

To reduce waste the school purchased lunchboxes with compartments for the students, so they did not need to use any plastic wrapping/packaging.

“We have noticed a significant improvement in the kai that comes in our lunch boxes,” Ms Trafford said.

The next stage of their Back to Native project will involve planting a bush walkway later this year, including about 500 larger trees.

The children plan to develop a place in the bush to showcase works of art, including sculptures, carvings, bird baths and bug hotels.

HATEA-A-RANGI School’s greater focus on sustainability and enhancing its natural environment has earned it a bronze award in the Enviroschools programme.

The Tokomaru Bay school has been working on a range of initiatives over the past few years, including to reduce waste, grow their own food and better connect with nature.

They launched their Back to Native project in June, to develop an outdoor classroom to conserve and protect native species, improve the school’s environment and create a place where students can learn about nature, rongoa (natural medicines) and the environment first-hand.

In July, they were given the bronze Enviroschools award from Tairawhiti Enviroschools’ facilitator Kauri Forno.

During the award day, the school invited the community along for mara kai (food garden) maintenance, planting 14 more trees in the orchard, planting just under 100 more native plants into the coastal entrance garden and doing some preparation for Stage 1 of the Back to Native walkway planting.

The students had to provide evidence in each of the five guiding principles: empowered students, learning for sustainability, Maori perspectives, diversity of people and cultures, and sustainable communities.

“We have come a long way in the last few years but have particularly stepped it up this year with a much greater focus on sustainable practices to ensure that our waste management system is consistently successful,” teacher Rebecca Trafford said.

Students have been taking those principles outside the classroom, increasing recycling in their homes.

The programme takes a holistic approach, incorporating sustainability with healthier eating practices, including with kai grown themselves.

The school’s chickens are housed in a coop the students designed with recycled materials. They are producing so many eggs, they sell the eggs they don’t use each week to the wider community.

The vegetable and native gardens are also thriving, boosted by nutrients provided by the worm farm.

To reduce waste the school purchased lunchboxes with compartments for the students, so they did not need to use any plastic wrapping/packaging.

“We have noticed a significant improvement in the kai that comes in our lunch boxes,” Ms Trafford said.

The next stage of their Back to Native project will involve planting a bush walkway later this year, including about 500 larger trees.

The children plan to develop a place in the bush to showcase works of art, including sculptures, carvings, bird baths and bug hotels.

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