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Published: 2005-05-31 00:00:00

Matamata-Piako schools are being invited to become part of the Enviroschools facilitated programme.

The Enviroschools Programme integrates environmental education into school life. Regional co-ordinator, Environment Waikato’s Schools Programme Co-ordinator Dean King, said the Enviroschools programme could help schools enhance a healthy, peaceful and sustainable learning environment.

“The Enviroschools Programme helps schools to integrate environmental education into the whole of school life through the curriculum, and create learning opportunities,” he said.

A total of 40 Waikato schools are involved in the Enviroschools Programme, a three-year process supported by an Enviroschools facilitator, a comprehensive resource kit and network of environmental educators.

Environment Waikato works with Hamilton City Council (19 schools), Waipa District Council (eight schools), Waikato District Council (six schools) and Taupo District Council (six schools) to fund an Enviroschools facilitator for schools in the areas. There is one independently funded school in the Otorohanga District.

“Through the Enviroschools programme children enquire, explore and contribute to decisions about their school environment. Students have opportunities to learn that they can make a difference as part of a community, they can be active participants in directing and managing environmental projects,” Dean King said.

“This can be an empowering experience that will develop their capacity for life-long learning and action to care for the environment. Schools involved in the programme need to have enthusiasm, time and passion to make environmental learning a way of life,” he said.

Mr King said one of the highlights of the Enviroschools programme in the Region in the last two years have been the Enviroschools Environmental Education Expos attended by more than 1,700 students. The Expos involved static displays and interactive sessions set up around the five key Enviroschools themes - Living Landscapes, Zero Waste, Precious Energy, Healthy Water and Ecological Buildings.

Interested schools need to submit a proposal by June 30 showing how they were prepared to commit to long-term change in their school, support curriculum development and ensure whole school development. More information on the Enviroschools programme is available from Environment Waikato's Freephone 0800 800 401 or from the Enviroschools website