Meet the 19 winners of the 2022 Taranaki Regional Council Environmental Awards.
Environmental action in education
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Matapu Preschool - for empowering tamariki to take action to protect and restore the environment.
Tamariki at Matapu Preschool in South Taranaki learn about kaitiakitanga (guardianship) through a ngahere (forest) bush corridor they have created and care for. The ngahere helps them understand Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) and their role as caretakers of our planet. Inspired by visits to Hollard Gardens and Rotokare Scenic Reserve, the ngahere provides a spiritual space where tamariki engage with nature. Native planting and creating a biodiverse environment has taught tamariki about sustainability and conserving water. Created with support from Matapu School, whānau and the local community and businesses, the ngahere helps tamaraki develop lifelong skills in caring for our environment.
Spotswood College - for empowering rangatahi to take action to build a sustainable community.
Spotswood College’s Impact Inquiry programme is inspiring rangatahi to work collaboratively and sustainably to solve problems. In just three years students have created an orchard, market garden, chicken farm, waste management programme and predator trapping programme. The environmental entrepreneurs sell their home-grown produce on site from a shipping container called The Designery. Collaboration and partnerships are key to the college’s environmental success stories including working with Enviroschools and Trees for Survival Trust and a collaboration with the Marfell Community Garden. The college says learning about sustainability resonates with students, helping them to think creatively about the environment and build strong connections with community groups and businesses.
Green School - for empowering students to take action to build a sustainable community and take action to protect and restore the environment.
Living up to its name, the Green School near Ōākura has embarked on a number of environmental projects over the last three years. Tamariki and teachers have planted 48,000 eco-sourced native plants on campus, providing new habitats for native plants and improved the connectivity to the Kaitake Range while helping soil stability and carbon sequestration. The school has worked with Taranaki Regional Council on a Biodiversity Plan for a Key Native Ecosystem it manages including controlling weeds and looking after 80 pest traps. A wetland has been restored and tamariki take part in planting days at the Tapuae Reserve and Ōākura Beach while events are hosted at the school to raise the public’s understanding of environmental issues. The Green School educates its students about environmental issues through hands-on learning and projects run by the tamariki.
Waitoriki School - for empowering students to take action to build a sustainable community and take action to protect and restore the environment.
Waitoriki School in Inglewood uses its natural environment as a learning space and being kaitiaki (a guardian) for their taiao (natural world) is part of pupils’ everyday life. Tamariki sustainably use natural products in their learning such as using nuts and seeds as counters. They also recycle and reuse to avoid making any waste. And students take their environmental work outside the school, looking after neighbours’ natural and animal habitats by fixing fences, clearing debris and cleaning waterways. The school has recently been named a Green-Gold Enviroschool for its long-term work on sustainability issues. Tamariki have removed exotic plants and introduced natives and are trapping pest animals while building natural habitats for insects, lizards and geckos. They’re creating bird corridors, redeveloping a wetland, have created gardens and a community orchard, plant native species in Everett Park every year and take part in heritage seed growing.
Nicola Stanton - for taking action to protect and restore the environment.
Waitara High School head student Nicola Stanton is finding real-world solutions to environmental problems. Her many projects have helped rangatahi to understand the environment and the importance of sustainability. Nicola has turned wool into water filters to stop fat and oil from clogging up the school’s wastewater systems. Nicola is working with her sister Jessica to apply for funding to expand the project so more people can use the wool filters. She also volunteers for the Taranaki Kiwi Trust and a project by Nicola tracking pests and counting native birds has helped improve the areas she’s investigated. Nicola has also attended the BLAKE Inspire programme for young environmental leaders.