Enviroschool Learning at Waitaria Bay School
Enviroschools is a national programme that supports children to plan, design and implement sustainability actions that are important to them and their communities.
Our Blenheim-based Enviroschools group of advisors is funded by the Marlborough District Council. Four teachers form our local team, they offer advice, programmes, in-school support along with a huge amount of enthusiasm.
At Waitaria Bay School our goal is to learn more about our environment to foster our love and respect for this amazing place we call home. Our learning covers plants, animals and the land.
We are all involved in several on-going programmes as well as a wide range of different learning experiences.
Once a term we survey a 100 metre band along a beach near the School. We collect any rubbish, then sort, weigh and categorise it all and send our results to the national group. The Sustainable Coastlines team collate all the information they gather from around the country and forward this data to the United Nations. We are part of a world-wide project to learn more about the rubbish in the ocean and on beaches.
Once a year we also survey a beach in Manaroa Bay for the Aquaculture industry. Again, the rubbish we find along the beach is sorted and the results sent to AQNZ.
Having the children involved in these activities generates a wealth of discussion and learning as we talk about how the different types of rubbish have arrived on the beaches and what we can do to protect the ocean.
Kids Edible Gardens
Each Wednesday Keri, our knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardening teacher, arrives to facilitate our learning in the vegie garden.
Keri has the support of an Enviroschools programme that plans activities throughout the term, according to the season. Keri adapts this plan to meet the needs of our children and our environment.
The addition of the shade house and shop to sell seedlings and produce has added several extra elements of learning for the children.
This is a totally hands-on time for the children. They are involved in everything from gathering seeds to eating the results of their on-going work and care of the plants.
We have a trap line of 13 snap and DOC200 traps in the bush between the road and the beach. They are baited with peanut butter, or occasionally mayonnaise, and are checked by the children.
We keep a record of our catches using a notebook during the checking and then transferring this data onto a spreadsheet.
The traps are in boxes and on trees and can all be cleared, baited and set by the older children.
The walk through the bush is a perfect opportunity to talk about why we are putting time into this task as we listen to korimako calling and piwakawaka fluttering around us.
We also participate in the Paper4Trees project where the recycled paper earns a gift of native trees that we plant and care for in the school grounds.
Throughout the year we are involved in a wide range of learning activities, from discovering where our school water comes from to making, setting out and evaluating chew cards. We have also created bees wax wrappers to use instead of plastic and conducted a bioblitz to discover more about what lives in our school environment.
Waitaria Bay children enjoy learning more about the natural world. With a focus on Sustainability in the School Curriculum, we are able to use this enthusiasm to foster and develop their knowledge, love and respect for their environment.