More than 200 children from 13 schools across the Waikato region attended this year’s Enviroschools event at the Mystery Creek Event Centre on November 12. Students were showcasing inquiry and action projects they had undertaken over the course of the year with the big focus of ‘Global Issues Local Realities’. Students and their teachers had spent many months researching and taking action, and then planning and preparing presentations to share with other students from around the region.
Enviroschools Facilitator, Robyn Irving says an important part of the event is for children to get to know other pupils from across the Waikato. They get to see the different issues being addressed. It gives them a sense of perspective and understanding that schools around the whole region are working together to make changes for a more sustainable future. “It’s really good for students to meet new faces, articulate what they are learning and consolidate that learning,” says Robyn.
Community partners from around the region also took part and presented their projects to students. These included Waikato Climate Action, Agrisea New Zealand; Mother Earth/Prolife Foods; Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu ; Xtreme Zero Waste and Waikato Museum
As part of the reflection at the end of the day, students were asked to share their ‘big insights’ with the whole group. Students were obviously inspired by what their peers around the region are doing. These are some of the responses:
- Hukanui: We didn’t know about aquaponics; seeing how many other Enviroschools there are; seeing what other Enviroschools see as important issues.
- Tatuanui: How to work together; Hearing birds and looking after birds.
- Netherton: Take action now to ensure that our future is a better place.
- Te Miro: ‘Think big’ even if you are small. Working together gets things done.
- St Francis: Find something/an area that needs care and go for it; Everyone can achieve no matter what your differences are.
- Rhode Street: Water/water cycle/conservation; Learning how to keep bees.
- Wairakei: Zero waste – that we need to recycle our waste; Possibility of no more landfills/zero waste; Change one person at a time.
- St Patricks: Sort out our bins; Bee Inquiry.
- Waikino: We are awesome and incredible. The environment is awesome.
- Puahue: How to make recyclable things from everyday materials – like newspaper pots for seedlings.
- Hamilton East: Make wearable arts.
- Deanwell: There is so much more we can learn and do to help; Look at other types of butterflies, like red admirals.
I was so proud of all the schools that participated throughout the year and in the end of year event. It brought tears of proudness and joy to my eyes seeing all the confidence and learning shared with all by some of Waikato’s most outstanding empowered students filling the venue at Mystery Creek. Well done Enviroschools team and awesome effort by those schools, teachers, students and communities.
Whangaitia te ngakau tangata – Foster the essence of the person – as educators at all levels we must first foster the essence of the person we work with, only then will the magic of true ako shine.-Andrea Soanes