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Schools and kindergartens all over Northland are working in innovative ways to build more sustainable schools and communities. Check out a few of the actions happening!

Congratulations Tangiterōria School

A rural school in Northland has recently won a competition and now has the resources to trap pests. Tangiterōria School, is located between Whangārei and Dargaville, has won $500 in a competition in conjunction with Enviroschools, KiwiNorth and Kiwi Coast.  The school intends to use the traps to reduce pests in its native bush area. 


Dargaville Intermediate becomes Green-Gold Enviroschool

Congratulations Dargaville Intermediate for becoming the sixth Green-Gold Enviroschool in Northland.

Susan Karels, the council’s Enviroschools Regional Co-ordinator, says among the school’s key strengths are its strong school-wide emphasis on environmental sustainability, its impressive native plant nursery and student-led waste management/recycling system.

To mark the occasion, attendees at the Green-Gold celebration all received a cupcake decorated as a riparian plant.  Susan says the themed cupcakes represented the tens of thousands of native plants the school had raised at its nursery over the years and planted alongside local waterways to help protect and enhance the Kaipara Harbour.

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.


Enviroschools expo in Kaipara

The Northland wide Enviroschools Expo came to Kaipara for the first time recently and attracted some 40 local school students, 10 adults as well as Northland Regional Council staff and Kaipara-based councillor Penny Smart.

“Expos have been held yearly for about a decade and always provide exciting, hands-on learning experiences for participants,” said Penny.

This year’s theme centred on using the environment for economic gain in a sustainable manner. “This showcased potential job opportunities for the students and provided an exciting platform for participating Enviroschools schools, as they plan for the coming year...due to its success here in Kaipara, it will be on the agenda for next year,” said Penny.

Starting at the Matakohe War Memorial Hall, the year 5-10 students from Ruawai College, Ruawai Primary, Tinopai school, Maungaturoto primary and Dargaville Intermediate, visited four local employers who fitted the theme. They were Chapel Olive Oil, Organic Dairy Hub, Zephyr Oysters and free range chicken farmers Te Rata Family Farm.

“It was a really great day, the students were really engaged. They got some real hands on experience such as planting an olive tree, collecting eggs, feeding calves with flax and packaging oysters.

They also got some very sound business advice and asked well thought-out questions. The business owners were very generous and gave us all a take home sample of what they produced.”

Article sourced from Kaipara Lifestyler, November 2017

Asking for help attracts opportunity

Enviroschools attract free resources and supplies

When we think of Enviroschools, we often think of the work happening within the school gates – but the profile of Enviroschools and the networking skills of our facilitators – is attracting lots of opportunities from outside the school system. Some recent examples from Jacque Knight, Secondary Enviroschools facilitator include:

  • While chatting to Jon Hampson, Regional Co-ordinator for the NZ Landcare Trust, about riparian planting at a recent event, Jacquie thought she would be a bit cheeky and ask if the Trust could assist those Enviroschools that don’t have their own nurseries. The result - 6,850 riparian plants free of charge for 17 Enviroschools to plant out this winter as part of schools’ WaiPlanting work – a stream of the WaiRestoration project. The news is generating much excitement, with schools having three months to prepare the sites for planting during June/July.


 Jacquie Knight riparian planting (March 2017)

  • Another opportunity, offered to Jacque by the Tree Crops Association, is to provide free advice and assistance to Enviroschools wanting to set up orchards and gardens. This includes planning for orchard and garden layout, as well as advice and help with pruning, grafting, and help planting various fruit trees and putting permaculture methods into practice.
  • Jacquie is also involved with the Bream Head Conservation Trust, assisting with their efforts to develop resources on conservation theory and practice, which will provide students with conservation unit and achievement standards. The studies are currently being trialled at Whangarei Girls' and Whangarei Boys High Schools'.

It’s great to see how the work and reputation of Enviroschools is becoming such a force for schools and students right across Northland, and gaining even more benefits for the environment.

Jacquie demonstrates seed saving from native trees (March 2017)


Enterprising Students Supply Seedlings for Riparian Planting

 Te Aii students at the Bay of Islands International Academy have been busy gathering and germinating seeds from their own school grounds and potting up thousands of seedlings for riparian planting. Students have been liaising with the farmers who want to plant in gullies and along waterways, sourcing the materials they need, budgeting, marketing the project and doing all the work from seed raising to potting on, and looking after the young plants until they are ready to sell.

These super busy students don't stop there though. With the help of teacher Jenna Grant, the school’s enviro-team - senior students Weston Harper, Billie Wynrard, Thomasina Kelly and Jordan O’Leary - have been behind projects such as a worm farm, plant nursery, vegetable gardens, planting native and fruit trees, establishing beehives and a pollination garden.  

At the academy’s Bronze Enviroschools ceremony Joce Yeoman congratulated all the students for the huge amount of work they had done, “I know the whole school has been involved in some way, and this is just a beginning. You have many more interesting projects to come". 

Read the full story here!


Hurupaki School celebrate the opening of their new Butterfly Bee and Bug habitat

At the end of November 2016, Hurupaki School celebrated their new butterfly, bee and bug habitat with Councillor John Bain.

$1,400 funding from NRCs Environmental Leaders Fund helped complete the habitat, build a wetland bridge and assist with animal pest trapping equipment.

The habitat looks amazing, with weta hotels and signage, and a wetland open to the public.

For more pictures, check out Northland Regional Councils facebook post.


Onerahi School becomes Green-Gold

Councillor Paul Dimery takes a closer look at Onerahi School’s raised vegetable gardens, just one of the many sustainability initiatives that have just seen it earn a coveted Enviroschools Green-Gold status.  With him are pupils, Kayden Fowler, left, Ashley Stowe and Liam Townsend. 
Onerahi School has become just the fifth school in Northland to achieve Green-Gold status. The last time a Northland school achieved the coveted Green-Gold status was in 2013, when both Bream Bay’s Ruakaka School and Kaitaia’s Oturu School received theirs.
Northland Regional Council Chairman Bill Shepherd and fellow councillor Paul Dimery officially presented the Green-Gold during a ceremony at the 550-pupil school in Whangarei.
Chairman Shepherd says Green-Gold is a major achievement in Onerahi’s journey as an Enviroschool. “Onerahi School is one of our Northland pioneers in the programme and has been with us from the start”. Both councillors say it is a great honour to be able to publicly celebrate and acknowledge the school’s success.
Enviroschools Northland Regional Co-ordinator Susan Karels says among Onerahi School’s key strengths is its strong connection with its local community, including nearby Matakohe-Limestone Island.
“The school’s charter is developed around the environment and it has consistently looked for innovative and interesting ways to encourage environmental initiatives including beekeeping, developing an extensive native bush area and sound waste management”. Susan says while the new Green-Gold status belongs to the entire school community, principal Gerald Koberstein deserved special mention for the way he had consistently led the programme from the beginning.