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Bush tea, mangals, shore surveys, plants for bees and pests

WaiRestoration workshop a great success.....

The coastal environment was the focus for this year’s annual WaiRestoration professional development day, recently enjoyed by keen teachers and school community members at Aroha Island near Kerikeri.

Studying mangals (mangrove forests), learning how to survey the local seashore, making native bush tea from leaves and flowers, finding out about bee plants and beekeeping, and tracking and trapping pests were among the day’s learning opportunities.

Enviroschools Regional Coordinator Susan Karels says participants could choose to attend four out of five practical workshops designed to stimulate, enthuse and provide a kickstart for school-based WaiRestoration projects next year.

“We wanted the schools to be inspired about how they can incorporate WaiRestoration into their teaching,” she said. “All awa (rivers) lead into the moana (sea), so the coastal riparian environment is both important and relevant to their environmental studies.”

“It was a fantastic day that ended with everyone making a commitment to continue the work they have started,” Ms Karels said. “They wrote out a self-addressed envelope and put their WaiRestoration pledges inside. We’ll send these to them to help get the ball rolling when school starts next year.” 

Bobby Leef demonstrates the workings of a beehive at the annual WaiRestoration professional development day.


Planting partnership bears many fruits

A planting partnership between an award-winning Waikato farmer and children from his local school is bearing environmental fruit on many levels. Children from Tauwhare School between Hamilton and Cambridge recently visited dairy farmer Frank Portegys’ Scotsman Valley Rd farm for the fourth year on the trot to plant trees designed to protect waterways. Our pictures show children getting stuck into the work and a close up of five-year-old Shaun Mayall with a new planting.

The visits to Frank’s farm have been part of Tauwhare’s participation in the Enviroschools programme, which is supported by Waikato Regional Council. The council has also provided some $1500 in financial support to Frank under the Piako catchment’s new works programme aimed at protecting waterways from the effects of farming. Over the years, more than 1000 trees have been planted with school and council assistance on the property’s wetlands and besides its waterways. Tauwhare’s Enviroschools lead teacher Linda Cook – who praises Frank’s assistance for the schools’ programme - says the children get a lot out of visiting the farm.

“The benefit for the children is it’s embedding understanding around the importance of clean waterways. And, also, they’re getting to do work of direct benefit in their local area, and they can see the plants growing over time,” says Linda. Frank says he’s very keen to protect waterways in the area and enhance the environment generally, and is grateful for the pupils’ help.

“If you ask everyone they always want clean water. If you don’t do it properly, dairying is going to have effect on water,” says Frank, whose property has won awards in the Waikato section of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Council catchment management officer Warren Coffey says farmers can apply for up to 35 per cent of the costs of fencing and planting to protect and enhance waterways and wetlands, as well as soil conservation work such as preventing steep hillside erosion.

“It’s our way of supporting famers to make changes on their property that help provide environmental benefits for the wider community.” Ruairi Kelly, the council’s schools programmes coordinator, said the visits have enabled the Tauwhare children to learn about both the environment and farming. “Tauwhare has done really well under Enviroschools – they’re a high-ranking Green-Gold school.

“Enviroschools in the Waikato Region is supported by a team of facilitators who work with schools to engage on a long-term journey of learning and action over environmental issues. The work of Frank’s farm has been a great partnership between a proactive and caring farmer, and a school that’s been working really well on the environmental protection front.”

Article from Scoop Media

Aquaponics teaches everything is connected

A problem become an opportunity at Wairakei Primary School, when students were exploring alternatives for growing food in Taupo’s poor soils and cold climate. Students had come across hydroponics, which lead them on to aquaponics, a way to grow food without fertiliser in a ‘closed loop system’. Aquaponics combines aquaculture, fish farming, and hydroponics, soil-less plant culture. This coincided with decommissioning of the school pool and the journey began.

Continue reading their story, plus watch their video here


Renwick School granted 3 year funding to restore local stream!

Renwick School students were granted $30,000 in 2014 to use over the next three years for a development programme for the creek that runs at the back of their school.

After doing the Living Landscape and Water themes over the last two years, the Green Ferns leadership group worked with students and the wider community as well as the Enviroschools lead teacher and principal to come up with an action plan to restore their creek into a thriving living ecosystem as well as a cool place to spend some time. Download their submission to Marlborough District Council here.


Photo thanks to Annie McDonald, Enviroschools Regional Coordinator Marlbrough 

Kuranui School Wai Project

Kuranui School has taken on an AMAZING wai project! The students have been working closely with staff from Waikato Regional Council to develop a long-term plan to clean up the section of the Waiomou Stream that borders their school and neighbouring farms. Already the students have learnt why the existing willow trees and other non-native species were damaging the stream, have observed the removal of these pesky trees and, along with volunteers from the local community, have planted 600 native trees that will help to keep the waterway clean and pollution-free by stabilising the banks and limiting erosion, sediment deposits and nutrient runoff. This project contributes to the objectives of the Kaimai Catchments Project, which aims to limit pollution flowing into the Firth of Thames. The task now for Kuranui School students is to keep the area weed-free and to plant a further 200 trees a year until the area is full. Fantastic effort guys! 

Kuranui school children planting along the riverbank as part of their Waiomou Clean Stream project.


Tahunanui School

Tahunanui School Green Ninjas undertook a great project called 'Project Water Saver'.
They followed the Enviroschools action learning cycle approach to identify the current situation, explore alternatives, take action and reflect on change. The result is a fabulous new water system that can collect up to 1000 litres of rain water for their school gardens. Click here for the full report.

Hira School

Stream Monitoring

Hira School have won an award at the 2013 Outlook for Someday Sustainability Film Challenge, for their Film 'Stream Monitoring at Wakapuaka'. The film examines the process the school uses to monitor the health of their local stream.

Click here to watch their great documentary.

Hands on Water Expo a Success in the Bay of Plenty

21 and 22 March 2013

About 160 children from 15 schools throughout Bay of Plenty came together for a two-day Hands on Water Expo, held at a Paengaroa farm park.

Eddie Grogan, General Manager Environmental Management at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, said the hands-on expo showed the value of agencies working together to educate and inform their communities.

“Water is an important issue for everyone”, he said. “As well as reaching a great group of enthusiastic Years 4 -10 students, the Expo was an opportunity for people from different organisations to share their skills and knowledge. I think we learned as much as the students!”

The Bay of Plenty students are already using what they learned at the Water Expo, with a variety of projects underway to tackle water issues in their communities.

Planting riparian strips to protect waterways , conducting a school-wide water use survey, and collecting rainwater for use) are among the actions schools are taking to raise awareness of water use and the need to carefully manage this precious resource.


For a full report on the expo please see the post-event statement. 

Nayland Kindergarten

Water Conservation

Nayland Kindergarten also undertook a fabulous and comprehensive investigation around water conservation, which resulted in a great new water tank for the kindergarten. See here for the full report.

Waipawa Kindergarten

water conservation

Waipawa Kindergarten had a water conservation focus duing the summer of 2013. As a drought developed in the area, water restrictions were put in place, and as the drought worsened this led to a water ban for certain areas of the kindergarten. Read more here.