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Published: 2012-06-29 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council has given environmental work being undertaken by three schools and a kindergarten a combined cash boost of $14,000-plus.

The cash injection was awarded from the Enviroschools Grant Fund at yesterday afternoon’s council meeting.

Fairfield Intermediate:

The school’s science teacher, Brett Moore, is working with small groups of students to extend their knowledge and thinking about their natural environment by getting them outside the classroom sampling and exploring the stream networks around Hamilton.

An application of $1354 has been granted by the council to purchase stream-monitoring equipment. The two smack kits contain bug boxes, clarity tube and thermometer, plus six fine mesh bug nets.

The regional council’s schools programme coordinator has been supporting the ‘River and Us’ water quality trips. Students have been spending two days every two weeks assessing clarity, looking at temperature, vegetation, invertebrate life, and overall biodiversity and stream health. Students explore impacts on streams and compare streams at different sites around Hamilton.

This is an ongoing project and Fairfield Intermediate students are exploring ways to present data gathered to track any changes that may occur. This will also inform any action or projects the students may wish to undertake in the future.

The council heard that funding this project would have many benefits for the school, students, community and biodiversity of the area. It will contribute to student’s awareness in this area for environmental stewardship and sustainable management of the environment, raise community awareness of environmental issues and provide ongoing environmental education.


Mokau School:

The council has granted $3829 for materials to support the school’s ‘wildside project’. There is a bush plantation between the school’s upper and bottom fields, referred to as the ‘wildside’, which the school’s 30 students want to be able to explore and use.

Mokau School wants to develop this area to make it more accessible for students and teachers. It intends building pathways, bird boxes, weta houses and safe simple platforms so the ‘wildside’ can become an environmental resource and be utilised and explored as part of its Enviroschools work supporting the school’s curriculum.

The conservation of skinks living in and around the school also forms part of this project. 

The council heard that this project will not only increase biodiversity, but also improve the community’s awareness of their local environment. It will be an ongoing project for the school and will result in effective environmental education for the school and community.


Newcastle Kindergarten:

The Ngaruawahia kindergarten has been engaged in the Enviroschools process since 2010 and has been focusing on areas of sustainability.

Stage two has involved creating natural spaces for children to grow, learn, play, and to value and respect their environment. This has included exploring waste.

A recycling centre has been put in place and the composting area upgraded, with the aim of being a ‘zero waste’ kindergarten. The kindergarten’s recycling centre is child accessible, with the children taking responsibility for the cleaning and recycling of waste on a daily basis.

The council has awarded funding of $4920 to enable the kindergarten to complete the recycling project by targeting water conservation. Water tanks will be installed to collect water for:

  • the cleaning of products being recycled
  • watering their gardens
  • water play for the children.

The council heard that the kindergarten’s project is role modelling sustainable practices to its community and encouraging children to be involved with recycling practices. It is also promoting a sustainable use of rainwater.


Te Awamutu College:

A grant of $4209 has been awarded to Te Awamutu College for 23 vegetable garden planter boxes to create an area that supports student learning and grows awareness of sustainable management.

Topsoil loss from existing garden beds into the stormwater system is an ongoing problem, causing regular blockages. By using raised garden planter boxes, the students aim to prevent the loss of topsoil into the school rainwater system.

Raised garden beds will also allow the students and school to reduce the use of fertilisers and chemical weed sprays in this area. They also hope to later add cloche and frost fabric to enable year-round growth.

The second stage of this project involves placing paving stones around the gardens to keep the mud at bay.

The school is working toward its Green Gold Enviroschools award and is involved in two long-term community riparian restoration projects, the Mangapiko and Mangaohoi stream care. They also have many sustainable long-term projects, such as their worm farm and a strong environmental committee.

The secure horticultural area is used by year 9 and 10 agriculture and horticulture students to promote primary industry and sustainable practices.

A small group of special needs students from the Patricia Ave Satellite Unit also use the facilities for educational purposes.