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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!

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)


'Project Rodent' training launched

More than 20 students from three schools gathered in Whangarei recently to gain hands-on knowledge of controlling pest rats and mice as the Enviroschools programme offered its first ‘Project Rodent’.

The new rodent training comes after the success over the past several years of similar Northland-led Enviroschools programmes ‘Project Possum’ and ‘Project Mustelid’.

Participants from Tauraroa Area School and Otamatea and Whangarei Girls High Schools explored rodent pest control, biology and environmental impacts as well as participating in practical sessions. A hands-on skills workshop, the trial included demonstrations and participants having a go at trap and bait station placement in a variety of habitats.

The course was held at Kiwi North in Whangarei and like its possum and mustelid forerunners, offered participants the chance to earn NCEA unit standard credits.

59 senior secondary students enjoyed Enviroschools WaiFencing courses at Trefoil Park this week (May 2016). Participants learnt the importance of fencing off waterways and how to tie fencing knots, build strainer assemblies, construct a fence line and run electric fencing. Kaikohe Christian School, Kaitaia College, Kamo High School, Northland College, Opononi Area School, Taipa Area School and Tauraroa Area School all took part in the NCEA focused training.

Hunter whacks in a post staple whilst Ezra supervises

Building strainer assemblies is fun

Team work

‘Art for Earth’s Sake’ - 2016 Enviroschools expo

In the first week of November in Kerikeri & Whangarei, more than 180 Enviroschools students, plus teachers and whanau, at Whangarei and Kerikeri to learn about making sustainable artworks from the environment at this year’s Enviroschools regional expos- ‘Art for Earth’s Sake’.

This year’s Far North Enviroschools Expos were held at Whangarei’s Quarry Arts Centre on Tuesday 01 November, with a second at Kerikeri’s Old Packhouse Market two days later– both perfect venues for art to meet science, technology and nature innovation.

Each expo featured a variety of different ‘art stations’ designed to showcase how natural materials and processes could be used to create various forms of art. Everyone was hands-on with cyanotype photography (a simple, low cost process that produces a cyan-blue print), raranga, wax carving and clay creations

The expos also called on the impressive skills of artists and experts who had enthusiastically passed on the knowledge they had accumulated – over a lifetime in some cases – across a wide range of fields.

As well as hands-on learning, the expos also enabled participants to make links between the arts, science and technology and encounter a platform for future learning.

 “It was great being able to see the students’ responses to the range and quality of art they were able to make, particularly in areas like the cyanotype photography where simple pieces of plant or shells were used to create photos I’d happily hang on my walls.”

Looks like it was a great day with lots of beautiful creations, learning and sharing!

To see more pictures from the day, visit the Northland Regional Council facebook page 

Twenty five attend School Environments workshops for caretakers and teachers

Participants from around Northland gathered at Hukerenui School recently came together for a special Enviroschools workshop for school caretakers and teachers.
The Northland Regional Council played a key role in bringing Enviroschools north in 2003 and there are now more than 70 Northland schools and several kindergartens in the programme, a school-wide approach to sustainability.
Enviroschools Regional Co-ordinator Susan Karels says this week’s free, day-long ‘School Environments’ workshop investigated ways caretakers and teachers could support their school’s Enviroschools’ journey.
It had been held at Hukerenui School, north of Whangarei, because it’s one of the programme’s ‘star performers’ for the way it uses its school environment sustainably for educational purposes.
“Twenty-five participants from as far afield as Kohukohu and Otamatea took part, exploring a range of sustainable practices, as well as sharing problems and solutions to school property management.”
Mrs Karels says beekeeping, waste management, animal pest control, lavender farming, native bush areas and keeping animals at school had all been traversed, as had ways caretakers could involve students in their work where appropriate.
The workshop is the fourth held by the regional council in recent years (the last was held two years ago in Dargaville) and is designed to recognise the value of caretakers and the role they and their work play in the wider school community.
“We also encourage caretakers and teachers to work together to incorporate students’ ideas to enhance their school environment.”
IMAGE: Kohukohu School teacher Kim Wilson, left, Hukurenui School student Kaia Stevens and Northland College caretaker Rob Paewhenua take a hands on approach to lavender farming at the recent School Environments Workshop at Hukerenui School.
Article released on Northern Regional Council website. See the Hukerenui School blog for more!

Enviroschools Bronze for Bream Bay College

Congratulations to Bream Bay College, who achieved Enviroschools Bronze status on Monday! The Bronze sharing and decision-making session was led by Envirogroup members and teacher, Emma Scobie-Jennings. The evidence-gathering morning revealed a variety of environmental action happening throughout the school. At Bream Bay College, energy-saving LED bulbs light up the entire school, colourful murals deliver key messages, planter boxes fuel the Food Technology Department and an Environmental Sustainability course is enjoyed at the senior level. Next steps include pipi monitoring in partnership with Patuharakeke Trust Board, a re-look at the waste management system and introduction of a food forest.


Reflection team members autograph the Enviroschools Bronze confirmation certificate & Jacque Knight, secondary Enviroschools facilitator, points out possibilities


Students share the school's environmental work & Students study the Enviroschool Bronze descriptive paragraph

Yay! Bream Bay College is a Bronze Enviroschool