Making a Connection
Enviroschools is an “environmental, action-based programme” and has provided a unique opportunity to a specialist group of our senior students from Rooms 8 and 11. This programme, being facilitated by Jennifer Scothern-King from Enviroschools Waikato, is empowering our students to design and lead sustainability projects in our school.
Enviroschools Award recipient, it made sense when looking for an extension programme for gifted learners to approach the Enviroschools team. With assistance from Tina Dobson, LSC (Learning Support Coordinator) in Taupō, the connection was made.
Water For Life
The Enviroschools Programme is designed for ECE, primary, intermediate and secondary schools. It aims to integrate environmental education and sustainability into the whole of school life. Students are able to take part in "planning, designing and changing the school’s environment to make it a healthy, stimulating and sustainable place. Students are empowered to become active environmental citizens for life." (Enviroschools website) Our students are participating in the ‘Water For Life’ programme, with a focus on wastewater, water quality, and drainage. The programme includes learning about:
- Water quality of local streams and wetlands
- Landcare groups
- Storm water drain awareness - detecting & identifying drains, the meaning of fish painted by drain grates, understanding what happens to wastewater and stormwater.
- Trees for sustainable life.
Enviroschools is based on the principle of sustainability. Sustainability is a way of being and acting that nurtures people and nature, now and in the future.
Certain values are included in the New Zealand curriculum to be encouraged, modelled, and explored. One of these is ‘ecological sustainability’. (New Zealand curriculum) The four areas that work together to create a sustainable school are place, people, practices, and programmes. (Education for Sustainability webpage) Therefore, our students were working to incorporate all four of these areas into their project. Jenni supported the students to come up with a core message, based on their learning, that they wanted to share. The students then looked at ways they could share their new learning in order to have maximum reach.
Jenni has many resources, different equipment and experts at her fingertips. Craig Render, digital technology facilitator from ImpactED, has visited our students to work on setting up an online presence for their learning and so they can get their message out to the world.
Jenni lent our students a ‘Scrum board’, so they can work independently on their parts of the project, and track their progress during the school week. This enables students to manage their class work and incorporate the Hero Project when time allows.
Shannon Hanson, Waste Minimisation Office for Taupō District Council, is also supporting the group and has visited our school. Students are able to tap into her wealth of knowledge to ensure they are making an impact.
Stash Your Trash
Students in this group are keen to get their knowledge into our school community. They are hoping for a big uptake on the Nood Food Wednesdays, reminding students and teachers every Tuesday about this event. A visit to Taupō’s wastewater plants is also planned for later this term.
Keeping rubbish out of waterways is a key way to protect our waterways. The message ‘Stash Your Trash’ has developed as the group mantra and the group has made a video to get the message out there.
There is a strong connection to key competencies in this project. Students are demonstrating their willingness to participate and contribute to an important cause. Their thinking is also needed, coming up with innovative ideas to create change.
Having an expert teacher from Enviroschools has given our students an authentic opportunity to make a difference and this has been very motivating. To see students’ passion for their local environment is exciting as these senior students head to new schools next year. We hope they have developed a lifelong interest and an enthusiasm to take their message into the next phase of their education.