Western Leader : December 21st 2010
9 WESTERN LEADER, DECEMBER 21, 2010 NEWS Special silverbeet: Tirimoana Primary student Brooke Cartwright, 10, in her favourite place in the school. Photos: FIONA GOODALL Keeping green is fun school work Proud to be green: Simon Anderson, 11, is proud of their native garden. By KRISTINA RAPLEY It's cool to be green these days. Loving and respecting nature is becoming a way of life for most Kiwis and our schools are catching on too. Enviroschools is a national movement and more than a quarter of all schools in the country are proud to be one. There are 138 in Auckland alone. People might assume kids spend their school day slumped in front of a computer screen, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Tending to the vegetable garden, feeding the chickens and sorting through rubbish is all in a day's work for Enviroschool students. Becoming an Enviroschool involves joining a network of other schools that are developing a holistic approach to learning about the environment. The scheme involves three stages of bronze, silver and green-gold. A range of requirements must be met to prog- ress through the various levels. Once a school has gained green-gold status they must reapply at least every three years to sustain it. Some of the criteria includes forming a student-led environmental group, growing a vegetable patch and a native tree garden, but every school is different. Tirimoana Primary School in Te Atatu started the enviro journey in 2003 and last year achieved green-gold status. We were absolutely over the moon,'' enviro co-ordinator Louise Graham says. It was huge for us, we had spent years working towards it.'' Some of their environmental highlights are a native garden trail, vegetable garden, a sophisticated recycling station and a travel-wise pro- gramme which encourages students to car pool, walk or ride their bikes to school. Every teacher in our school loves coming to work every day because it's a lovely environment,'' Mrs Graham says. We all take such pride in the gar- dens, the artwork and we respect each other -- and that's because of our Envi- roschool journey.'' Beachlands Primary School in east Auckland also has green-gold status and a popular environmental group. Enviro co-ordinator Laureen McLeod says it's lovely to see how much the students mature when they join in on the action. It's really valuable for the students. Their confidence grows and they develop into really independent learners.'' One of their main attractions is a chicken coop that provides organic eggs to sell and use for food technology classes. Students are responsible for collecting the eggs and feeding chickens with food scraps collected during lunchtime. Student Elise Bond, 10, says she loves being in the enviro group. You get to make friends with people you wouldn't normally be friends with, and it's really fun to look after the environment.'' Mrs McLeod says it takes a lot of work and dedication to transform into an Enviroschool. If a school is going for green-gold status it's really import- ant that the whole school is on board -- you just can't do it otherwise.'' Visit www.enviroschools.org.nz for more information.
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