Auckland Airport is giving $10,000 each to 12 charities as part of its annual 12 Days of Christmas initiative. The Herald is profiling each initiative in the lead up to the big day. The $120,000 came from change dropped off by travellers at the airport this year.

The Urban EcoLiving Charitable Trust was formed in 2007 after Auckland teachers raised concerns that environmental educational options were limited to wildlife experiences only.

And while they are important, general manager of the Tread Lightly Caravan (TLC) Katie Jones explains more can be done.

"While these experiences are important they do not provide students with the understanding of what they can do personally to solve current environmental problems," Jones said.


Inspiring Kiwi children to live sustainably, the TLC travels around Auckland schools and educates students about solutions to environmental issues.

"The demand from Auckland schools to book the Tread Lightly Caravan demonstrates the need for this programme.

"The TLC had a target to host 7500 students in 2018 - the demand far exceeded that target with confirmed bookings for 8900 students next year," Jones said.

At the end of every learning session, students take a pledge for something they will do to reduce their impact on the environment.

"The pledges range from actions that students themselves can do as individuals such as saying no to plastic bags, or actions they do with their family, such as start a worm farm.

"Whilst the individual pledge actions may be small, collectively they add up to a much greater collective effort," Jones explained.

Auckland Airport's general manager of people and safety Anna Cassels-Brown said many visitors come to New Zealand to explore our unique environment and teaching children to care for it is important.

"We're pleased to support a charity that's teaching the next generation of Kiwis to care for something that's so important to us all," Cassels-Brown said.


Jones said the grant from the airport would not only be an economic boost, but would extend the reach of the programme as well.

"This grant will really enable us to foster a greater awareness and consciousness amongst nearly 9000 students in 2018 of the effects their everyday lives have on the environment and empower them to make small and simple changes that will make a positive difference.

"The trust is extremely grateful for being selected as a recipient for the grant and really excited about the opportunity it provides to further develop our Tread Lightly Pledge initiative."