On June 1st, 54 students from around the Waipa gathered for the 5th annual Waipa Earth Champions event organised by Waikato Enviroschools and local educators.
Pūniu River Care Inc. members led the learning by talking about their Marae based programme that integrates river restoration with building capability of their hapu and raising awareness of the waterways and biodiversity as taonga.
Students also had a range of experiences including Maori perspectives of conservation through storytelling, hearing about bats and biodiversity in the Waipa and the need to create natural corridors, water conservation and waste reduction.
“We learnt about seeds from manuka, kowhai and karamu. I ate a manuka seed. It was delicious. It isn’t poisonous!” said one student. “I will not waste any water” pledged another. “We heard the story of Matariki and also learnt about the eels”, and “I learnt there are at least 5 R’s for our waste” others reflected.
Waipa Earth Champions provides an opportunity each year for local students, passionate about learning and taking action for the environment can come together and share what they have been achieving in their schools with others and build on their current knowledge with the support of experts.
Feedback included thanks for the day and comments that students would share their new knowledge with others at their school. “It was fun doing all the activities. I hope we can do it again” wrote one student.
What a great day. What a great community!