Meadowbank School was recognised for its ongoing commitment to sustainability at an Auckland Enviroschools celebration on Friday 29 November.
Enviroschools, which is facilitated in the Auckland region by Auckland Council, is a national sustainability education programme. It supports children and young people to be active environmental citizens, contributing to ecological regeneration and the creation of healthy, resilient and sustainable communities.
Meadowbank School is one of a small number of New Zealand Enviroschools that have already received the programme's top green-gold rating and are continuing to improve their environmental credentials. The school received a beyond Green-Gold certificate at the annual celebration, which was held at Sylvia Park School.
There were 41 environmentally active schools across Auckland recognised for their commitment to sustainability at the Enviroschools celebration.
Schools were awarded with Bronze, Silver and Green-Gold certificates of achievement, and more than 270 teachers and children from Auckland Enviroschools attended.
"The Enviroschools programme is a great example of young people leading the way in the field of sustainability," says Councillor Wayne Walker, chair of the council's Environment and Sustainability Forum.
"As they get involved in sustainable projects within their community and learn the skills of decision making, these young people are on their way to become the environmental leaders of the future."
Councillor Walker presented the Enviroschool certificates with Councillor Richard Northey, chair of the council's Accountability and Performance Committee, and Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board members Josephine Bartley and Chris Makorae.
"As schools progress through the Enviroschools programme, students work on more complex projects and think at a much deeper level about why they are taking action for a sustainable future," says Councillor Northey.
"I am confident that the children recognised in the celebrations will play an important role in Auckland's journey to becoming the world's most liveable city."
As well as helping their wider community, students at Enviroschools introduce initiatives to improve their own schools.
Some of those initiatives have include making submissions to the government about protecting Maui dolphins, implementing plans to build wind turbines in their school and planting their own vegetable gardens.
There are 862 Enviroschools in New Zealand, including 160 in Auckland. Early childhood centres, primary, intermediate and secondary schools are all part of the nationwide programme.
A Bronze Enviroschool is one in which students have started work on getting to know their environment, and are exploring options and finding some ways to take action for a sustainable future. They have typically been on the Enviroschool journey for two years.
Students at Silver Enviroschool level are fully involved in making decisions about sustainable actions and can show what change has happened because of their learning and action. A silver Enviroschool has been on the Enviroschools journey for at least four years.
A Green-Gold Enviroschool includes environmental sustainability in decision-making within the school community and students have a strong sense of connection to the environment and lead much of the ongoing activity. Green-gold schools have usually been involved with Enviroschools for at least five years.
Schools that have sustained a depth of practice over a number of years may choose to work though a process looking at what has been happening for them beyond Green-Gold. Meadowbank School reached the Green-Gold stage in 2005 and has sustained this depth of practice for many years.
Certificates of achievement were given to the following schools:
- Bronze - Bailey Road School in Mt Wellington, Birkdale Primary School, Dawson Road School in Otara, Diocesan Junior School in Epsom, Freemans Bay School, Glendowie School, Hingaia Peninsula School near Karaka, May Road School in Mt Roskill, Mt Roskill Primary School, Taupaki School, Avondale Kindergarten, Cascades Kindergarten in Pakuranga, Chelsea Kindergarten in Birkenhead, Colwill Kindergarten in Massey, Freemans Bay Kindergarten, Glendowie Kindergarten, Glenfield Kindergarten, Lady Cobham Kindergarten in Epsom, Mangere Bridge Kindergarten, Milford Kindergarten, New Lynn Kindergarten, Pt Chevalier Kindergarten, Takapuna Kindergarten, Titirangi Kindergarten and Waiheke Kindergarten.
- Silver - Baverstock Oaks School in East Tamaki, Bucklands Beach Primary, East Tamaki Primary, Mission Heights Primary, Oratia District School, Owairoa School, Patumahoe Primary School in Franklin, Peninsula Primary School in Te Atatu, Prospect School in Glen Eden, Sylvia Park School and Willow Park School in Hillcrest.
- Green-Gold - Blockhouse Bay Intermediate, Pakuranga College, Titirangi Primary School and Wakaaranga School in Farm Cove.
- Beyond Green-Gold - Meadowbank School.