Oturu School’s award-winning Enviroschools’ initiatives include an ongoing beekeeping project.
Prestigious Enviroschools Silver awards went to long-standing Enviroschools participants Onerahi Primary and Whangarei Heads Schools, while Northland College, Oturu and Ruakaka Schools picked up Bronze awards.
The Enviroschools programme helps students integrate environmental education into wider school activities, encouraging a whole-school approach toward sustainable management of resources.
Run jointly through the Northland Regional Council, the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Education facilitation arm, TEAM Solutions, the programme is available to all Northland schools, with more than 35 currently participating.
“Enviroschools provides a framework within which schools can grow their environmental programmes and practices,” says Susan Karels, an Environmental Education Officer with the Northland Regional Council.
“Together with staff, trustees, whanau and local members of the public they learn tools and skills that will filter out to the wider community.”
The five 2009 awards recognise the schools’ achievements over time. Schools apply for one of three awards - ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ or the seldom-awarded ‘Green-gold’ - based on criteria set by the National Enviroschools Foundation.
To qualify for Silver awards, Onerahi Primary and Whangarei Heads Schools showed they were maintaining existing environmental actions, developing new projects, involving more people and deepening their learning and practice.
Northland College, Oturu and Ruakaka Schools met the criteria for Bronze awards by demonstrating commitment to Enviroschools’ principles, with the foundations laid and steps taken to being sustainable school communities.
“To achieve either of these levels requires commitment and perseverance, and we congratulate all five schools on reaching these stages in their environmental journeys,” Mrs Karels says. “The awards are a great way to celebrate the knowledge students are gaining and the difference they are making.”
The Enviroschools Awards’ celebrations are held at each school to allow for greater community involvement.
“Enviroschools is all about the whole school community,” Mrs Karels says, “so it’s important community members who have put so much into their school’s environmental initiatives get the opportunity to celebrate their successes.”