A recent Council grant of $25,000 will contribute towards the funding of an Enviroschools school facilitator.
Mayor Gary Kircher says the funding will enable the facilitator to work with local school children throughout the Waitaki district, teaching them about the environment, what sustainability means and what practices can be learned.
“It’s an important part of children’s education and is becoming more relevant every day,” says Gary. “If we can teach the younger members of our community about sustainability issues such as growing their own food, managing waste, and recycling, it’s well known that those messages will also reach parents, caregivers and others throughout the community.”
Enviroschools Co-ordinator Robyn Zink says the facilitator will help schools to put a sustainability lens on their curriculum topics and on their practices.
“We will be approaching all the schools in Waitaki and asking them to provide an expression of interest. The funding we’ve received will allow us to support 12 schools.”
“Enviroschools is an on-going programme and the stronger the relationship between the facilitator and the school, the more embedded a school’s sustainability practice becomes, and the stronger the community networks are.”
Enviroschools aims to foster a generation of children who instinctively think and act sustainably. Facilitators work with schools to identify sustainability issues relevant to the pupils, such as food production and distribution, waste reduction, enhancing biodiversity, or minimising water and energy use. Students are then empowered to act on those issues.
“The programme integrates all aspects of sustainability and weaves Māori perspectives throughout. Strong links are built with communities through this process, enabling learning and action to move beyond the school boundaries, and building sustainable communities.”
Gary adds, “Council recognises the importance of these issues and we’re very pleased to be able to support such a valuable community programme. We have full confidence that our younger generation will learn skills that will lead to a greater awareness of environmental issues, and building greater self-reliance.”