Chance for a sustainable school

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 09:54 04/08/2014

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Proposals on the table for two new colleges on a greenfield site in Blenheim could be an opportunity to create New Zealand's best sustainable schools, a environmental educator says.

Enviroschools regional co-ordinator and Marlborough District Council's environmental educator Annie McDonald said there was a golden opportunity for sustainable designs and landscaped grounds that could be used for teaching and learning.

"If we make the investment now it will be in place for 100 years. There is discussion about modern learning environments but we also need to think of learning environments for sustainability.

"Kids understand that we have to tread lightly on the Earth and we will have to plan for the future. A new college or colleges could be a benchmark for New Zealand. We have a good lead-in time to make it happen."

Enviroschools take an action-based approach to education through which young people plan, design and implement sustainable projects and become catalysts for change in their families and the wider community.

Marlborough has the highest number of enviroschools in New Zealand with 26 out of 30 having gone green.

McDonald said she wanted to work more closely with Marlborough's secondary schools to get the transition of enviroschools into their curriculum.

Marlborough Girls' and Marlborough Boys' colleges are bronze level enviroschools. There had been a groundswell of feeling that schools wanted to become sustainable, McDonald said.

Projects have included introducing more natural systems, edible gardens, bird houses and insect hotels. Grovetown Primary School raised their own chickens to eat food scraps and Renwick Primary School hoped to become one of the few schools in the country to have little or no need for electricity from the national grid.

"Our climate is changing, we are on an earthquake zone and our resources are not infinite. We need kids to be resilient to the physical changes."

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- The Marlborough Express

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