Teachers from all around Whanganui have had the chance to see what makes St Johns Hill School the city's leading environmentally friendly school.

Since 2009, the school has held Green-Gold Enviroschool status, which is the top rating for an enviroschool — a programme established to foster a generation of people who instinctively think and act sustainably.

St Johns Hill School opened its doors after school last Wednesday to allow other teachers to have a look at some of the environmentally friendly projects going on.

The school regularly recycles and reuses products for art and in the latest series of projects students have reused a number items to show their ancestry.


"Well this is the children talking about their heritage here," St Johns Hill teacher Cathy Carroll said, pointing at some projects.

"They've researched their heritage and presented it in ways ... they've reused and recycled and remade."

Kass Kirk (left) and Cathy Carroll look through some of the heritage projects at St Johns Hill School.
Kass Kirk (left) and Cathy Carroll look through some of the heritage projects at St Johns Hill School.

Some projects are made out of old compact discs and Coke-Cola bottles to represent the vessels various students' ancestors may have first come to New Zealand on.

They also reused the boxes the school's Chromebook computers came in. They've been dressed up to look like suitcases with photos of grandparents and flags showing nationalities stuck inside.

"That's just the old Chromebook boxes that we used," said Carroll.

"They were just there in a stack ... and someone though 'oh we can use those' and had that idea and that's what we did.

The school also has an extensive native tree planting programme, planter boxes dotted all around the school, chickens they look after and a number of other environmental projects.

Carroll said the school always enjoyed being a leader and helping other schools get their enviroschool projects off the ground.

"We feel really proud," she said. "It's just passing it forward. We've always been really open to supporting other schools and helping them embrace the fabulous thing that is being an enviroschool."

The day was essentially a workshop for those teachers from other schools to get ideas for their enviroschool ambitions.

For many of those teachers it was also a chance to network with others in the profession.

Kass Kirk is a teacher at Okoia school and was impressed with what she saw.

"It's pretty fabulous how they've put it together.

"I think the whole lot of it's great ... the displays, the kids have all got their names on everything and the work that they've put into it is absolutely incredible ... just amazing."

She said her school was an enviroschool but had struggled to really improve at all in the past five years.

"It hasn't been working as an enviroschool for about five or six years now.

"We've had a few changes of principals and we've sort of made a few changes and things. The enviro part of it has sort of been left behind a little bit.

"Our idea is to instil that pride back into the children. You know that passion. Give them something to get their teeth into around their own community to start bringing in our outside community and give them that pride."

Her focus was on making the enviroschool focus more central to students' and teachers' learning.

"There's the whole logistics of getting the whole school on board and then how you work that out with each class ... how they do their part.

"I'm interested in all that ... how to get it started and how to get it working."

She said her school was perfectly situated to become a top enviroschool.

"We've got the paddocks, we've got chooks, we've got fruit trees, we've got birds, native birds all over the place, we've got everything you'd need.

"We have got some little gardens that our secretary keeps going but she does it - we want the whole school on board."