Everything is Connected at Hamilton Gardens

Last Wednesday was a wonderful example of how children learn by doing, as 250 students from 26 Enviroschools joined together at Hamilton Gardens to celebrate the year’s theme of ‘whanaunatanga’. We were welcomed by the beautiful voices of Hillcrest Normal Kapahaka group and soon discovered that the day was to be filled with plenty of exciting hands on activities.

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Many local experts and community groups had volunteered their time to plan interactive activities on all sorts of topics that deepened the children’s understanding of how our world is all connected. Warren Gumbly Archaeology, waste experts from Waikato Environment Centre, staff from Te Awamutu Museum and Waikato Museum, Smart Water, biodiversity and pest plant experts from Waikato Regional Council, and shore bird conservationists from Pukorokoro Miranda  were some of the groups involved.
However, the children themselves stole the show! Some were given the chance to present themselves and had creatively planned their presentations to engage their fellow enviro teams. I especially loved the game Hillcrest Normal School had created showing their study of ecological buildings. What a fun class to be in! The rain held off for most of the day and groups were also given the opportunity to have a tour of the Hamilton Gardens.
Feedback from the schools was overwhelmingly positive. One high school student commented “I liked seeing all the children from diverse schools learning new things and enjoying themselves so much. I was amazed by what research some schools/ students had done”. The celebration was fantastic example of how enviroschools empowers students to realise they actually contribute to a sustainable way and definitely make a difference. I wonder what will be planned for next year!

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