Double boost for environmental education in NZ

A new contract to support Enviroschools for the next six years and a new Strategy for Environmental Education for Sustainability were announced today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Associate Minister of Conservation Nicky Wagner.

“Education is a powerful, long-term tool for improving how we care for the environment. If people feel connected to nature and understand the problems of species loss, water pollution, waste and climate change, they will make better choices during their lifetime,” Dr Smith says.

The Toimata Foundation’s six-year contract is for $11.4 million and supports the Enviroschools and Te Aho Tū Roa programmes in early childhood centres, schools and kura.

“Enviroschools has already involved more than 100,000 children, 9000 teachers and 85 partner organisations. This new contract will ensure the growth of the programme and also puts a stronger emphasis on science connections. We want schools engaging with their local science community, with the programme linking to the National Science Challenges and supporting A Nation of Curious Minds,” Dr Smith says.

The Government has also released a draft National Strategy for Environmental Education for Sustainability for public feedback.

“The Strategy is a framework that will engage and connect people to their environment and to their community. It encourages collaboration between a wide range of stakeholders to support projects and initiatives to advance social, cultural, environmental and economic sustainability in New Zealand,” Ms Wagner says.

“That is why we are collaborating with businesses, councils, NGOs, community groups and schools to develop a strategy that is consistent with modern ways of learning and communicating.

“This strategy is about better connecting a range of programmes which support communities being more involved with the environment.

“I am very pleased with this draft and believe it provides a next step to the Environmental Education for Sustainability. I look forward to hearing public feedback,” Ms Wagner says.

The refreshed National Strategy and feedback process are available at http://www.doc.govt.nz/eefs

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