1000 bottles aren't sitting on the wall at Ratapiko School, but they have contributed to a new award sitting on the wall.
Creating a greenhouse out of those 1000 upcycled plastic bottles, doing plenty of riparian planting and keeping pests under control are some of the projects that have helped the school get to the next level in environmental education.
Since 2016 the school has been involved in the Enviroschools programme, a national programme aimed at teaching pupils about sustainable living.
Schools work through a level-based award system where they first earn a bronze award, with the option of then working towards further awards or levels. Each Enviroschool has a facilitator who works to support and guide their vision for a sustainable future.
After successfully achieving the Bronze Enviroschool level two years ago, the pupils and school whanau have continued their environmental learning, earning the silver award this year.
Enviroschools facilitator Richard Carr says the school's efforts were "great".
"They've done really well and all the pupils should be proud of their efforts."
Principal Lisa Hill says to achieve their bronze in 2018, they maintained their gardens, built a pizza oven, and farmed meal worms for the North Island robin/ toutouwai on Mt Taranaki.
"The pizza oven teaches the kids sustainable living as they make their own pizzas using crops from the school garden."
It took more than pizzas to get to the silver level however.
Lisa says pupils had to maintain all their previous projects to show the sustainability of them, while also creating new ones.
"One of our new projects was creating a greenhouse out of upcycled plastic bottles. 1000 bottles were donated to the school by the community. It took us almost a year to collect enough bottles for the project and a month to build the house. Inside the house we plant seeds."
Lisa says the silver award recognises the sustainability efforts of the pupils.
"It's about the next steps the children want to see in their school environment."
Board of Trustees chairwoman Clair Marshall says by attending an enviroschool the children learn important skills, some of which were particularly helpful during 2020 as the pupils experienced the effects of the nationwide lockdown.
"Their work at school meant they knew how to live sustainably
by planting, maintaining and looking after things so they grow. This was important during the lockdown because most of the items [they] were used to having weren't available on tap. The tamariki can put the lessons into a world perspective regarding their self care and how they have to look after themselves to grow."
Pupil Jael Newton-Potter (13) says she enjoys going to an enviroschool.
"It's great as you get your hands dirty. I enjoy planting seedlings in the bottle house and looking after our garden."
Ethan Amaru, 5, says receiving the Silver Award is "awesome".
"I like being out in the sunshine and planting seeds in the garden."
Lisa says the school will now work towards the Green/Gold Award.
"We're continuing to embed and work on our projects."