Zero waste schools to come from children's passion

Cian O'Brien of Stratford Primary School showed his passion and spoke on behalf of the CAPOW project many times.
JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ

Cian O'Brien of Stratford Primary School showed his passion and spoke on behalf of the CAPOW project many times.

Two schools have proudly displayed their recent environmental findings and are moving on to the next step: becoming zero waste.  

After Stratford Primary School and Matapu School joined up late last year to take part in a funded scheme, they saw such enthusiasm in their students and thought 'why stop there?'. 

The schools were funded by Venture Taranaki as a pilot scheme as part of Curious Minds Taranaki. The project was named CAPOW, which stands for Curious About Processing Organic Waste.

JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ JANE MATTHEWS/FAIRFAX NZ

Vili Rova (left) from Stratford Primary School, and Kate Clarke from Matapu School spoke of their experiences during the CAPOW project.

The CAPOW kids explored a range of composting trials and were proud to have worked with "real life scientist" John Coplestone from Industrial Chemical Services in Startford.

Pare Bennett from Enviroschools checked out some of the displays the CAPOW kids had set up.

Marlene Lewis, Stratford Primary School's environmental coordinator, and Kerry Nancarrow, Matapu School's Principal, were very proud of the passion the children developed for the environment.

The children investigated a range of ways to reduce organic waste and completed many composting trials.

Jordyn Picard, 11, from Matapu School, investigated invertebrates which help with the composting process.

Zeta Barber, 9, from Stratford Primary School, had a 'guess the number' game. She asked her fellow students how many worms were in the jar.

A selected number of students took part from each school, Stratford Primary School wore red, and Matapu School wore blue.

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Principal of Matapu School Kerry Nancarrow said the students from Matapu who took part in CAPOW by reducing organic waste and trialling composting systems loved it. 

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"We were lucky to have had that funding from Curious Minds and this has given us the momentum to keep going forward," she said. "It's the best thing for us is it's not an end point." 

Nancarrow said the school  was now working with more of their students to become a zero waste school. 

"The neat thing is the kids have learnt so much and they just want to keep going," she said. "We've got heaps of other students now saying 'we want to be an enviro'." 

The environmental co-ordinator at Stratford Primary School, Marlene Lewis, said her students were the same. 

"I've been amazed, a simple topic about processing organic waste has created such a world of curiosity for the kids," she said. 

Lewis said the children had "no respect" for nature before the school started to explore the topic. 

"Last year we had kids swinging off trees and breaking branches and it used to make me just about cry," she said. 

Lewis said the children  were now learning to "show manaakitanga to the environment, show that we respect the environment". 

Both schools were using different schemes to get their students to take their rubbish home with them, and encouraged reusable bags. 

Lewis said when it all started she'd get "ear fulls" from parents on the phone, but that had since stopped. 

Lauree Jones, Enviroschools Regional Co-ordinator, said there had been a real movement toward sustainable activities lately. 

"It's a beautiful thing to see the children thinking about what they can do for the environment." 

 - Stuff

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