Ideas abound to make school greener

By Nathan Crombie nathan.crombie@age.co.nz -
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South Featherston School students from Room 3 and teacher Peter Hull with the Enviroschools sign now gracing the school noticeboard. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
South Featherston School students from Room 3 and teacher Peter Hull with the Enviroschools sign now gracing the school noticeboard. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Students at South Featherston School are bursting with ideas for Enviroschool projects almost a year after taking up the challenge to think and act sustainably.

Teacher Peter Hull said immediate past principal Margie Sutherland had signed the school up to the nationwide programme, as the concept had won attention that went wider than the school and "we can get members of the community on board as there is an interest there".

"The students are really eager and on board, especially because within groups they have come up with the ideas themselves to get off the ground," Mr Hull said.

"We have also looked at others that are Enviroschools and thought about what we can do here at South Featherston to make the process meaningful to staff, students and the community."

Mr Hull said students had started to focus on Enviroschools projects "as part of our inquiry so that we can launch projects, build them, problem solve around maintaining them and get the rest of the school on board by creating a team that covers all levels of the school".

Smaller groups were formed within a class and ideas were formulated and refined within the groups, he said.

Group projects include a vegetable garden, paper-making, recycling, bird feeders, and a nature garden, Mr Hull said.

Ideas students threw into the mix included what should be planted at a particular time of year, the process of recycling and re-using paper, the pros and cons of bird feeders, recycling waste despite the school being off the recycling waste pick-up route, and fundraising for the building and populating of a fish pond as the centre of a nature garden.

He said students had already started to re-organise areas within the school.

"[A difference] we want to make is our recycling, which today is not being collected and is taken to the landfill," Mr Hull said.

He said students in Room 3 were recording the weekly recyclable waste generated at the school and plan to contact the recycling company which services South Wairarapa "and hopefully we can convince it that South Featherston School, along with the residents on South Featherston Road, have enough recycling to be worthy of visiting once a week".

"It is really a great opportunity for South Featherston School to create real life learning experiences for the students that also closely link to the curriculum through all subjects.

"It is also a great way for us to engage with the community as we have found the community want to be involved," Mr Hull said.

"Students get to plan a project by looking at what our current situation is and what our needs are, they explore alternatives to what is already happening or not happening, they take action based on what alternatives they have chosen and they get to reflect on that change, all the while problem-solving.

"We are doing things to care for the environment and giving our students learning opportunities to learn more about how they can care for the environment now and in the future at school, home and in the community."

For more information on Enviroschools go online to enviroschools.org.nz.

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