Toko School turns green gold

By Hannah Walker

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Toko School enviro-leaders pictured with the team from Taranaki Enviro-Schools with their award and new flag.
Toko School enviro-leaders pictured with the team from Taranaki Enviro-Schools with their award and new flag.

It started with two fruit trees, and five years on Toko School's enviro-programme has also grown, with the fruits of their labour resulting in the school receiving the first Green Gold Award in the region from Enviroschools Taranaki.

A Green Gold Award is the highest level of achievement for an enviroschool and reflects a huge amount of work by the students, staff, and community says Taranaki Enviroschools co-ordinator Lauree Jones.

Lauree presented the award to Toko School's enviro leaders on Friday morning and says it was a real honour to be working with the only school in the region with a Green Gold status.

"This award is not just the result of one group of students, but of the whole school actively thinking about their impact on the environment."

As well as the award, Lauree presented Toko School with a enviroschools flag to acknowledge their commitment to the programme.

Friday's award assembly was lead by Jazmine Houston, who along with her fellow enviro leaders, shared how the donation of two fruit trees started Toko School on their enviroschools journey in 2011.

The pupils shared a video they had produced introducing each of the various enviroschool initiatives and projects the school has established including vegetable gardens, an orchard, a chicken coop, a plastic bottle green house, a recycling centre and so much more.

Principal Kim Waite says she loves the enviroschools programme as it gives the pupils the opportunity to problem solve.

"Life is all about solving problems, and learning that the first solution is not always the best one. The enviroschools programme gives our pupils the opportunity to think through these situations and learn valuable life skills."

Kim says the school wouldn't have been able to achieve their Green Gold status without the on-going support of the families of Toko School and the Toko community.

"We have also received a significant amount of financial assistance which has helped us bring our crazy ideas to life. We are grateful to all the groups and organisations who have made donations to our school."

Mayor Neil Volzke was at Friday's assembly to celebrate with Toko School.

"The Stratford District Council has always been a huge supporter of the enviroschools programme and it is fantastic to see Toko School creating an example for other schools in the district."

Neil says he makes regular visits to the school and is always blown away to see how much the school has achieved and is impressed how each classroom takes responsibility for a different projects.

"It is also wonderful to see the messages and learning incorporated throughout the school's curriculum. Toko is a great school with a great spirit and I look forward to see what they achieve in the future."

Friday's assembly also included a ceremonial cake cutting by Neil, followed by a flag raising ceremony and a tree planting.

- Stratford Press

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