St Peter’s School near Cambridge has today become the first Waikato secondary school to be recognised as a "green-gold Enviroschool" and only the fourth secondary school in the country to be at this level.
Highlights of the school’s activities include:
A wetland project initiated by students concerned about a boggy patch of school farmland. The land has been fenced to prevent stock access and planting is helping create a natural wetland.
St Peter’s only engages contractors with proven sustainable working policies.
The school is growing native plants for use on the Te Awa cycleway.
"This award is fantastic recognition of St Peter’s leadership towards sustainability in actionefforts on the environmental front," said Paula Southgate, chair of the policy and strategy committee at Waikato Regional Council which coordinates the national Enviroschools programme in the region.
"I congratulate the school on its efforts to make environmental sustainability part of all it does," said Cr Southgate, who today attended an award ceremony at the school.
Waipa Mayor Alan Livingston also congratulated St Peters and said the green-gold award was the deserved culmination of St Peters "walking the sustainability talk".
"It is great students are involved in hands-on, practical situations such as their kahikatea stand, farm plantings, esplanade planting along the Waikato River, planting for Te Awa cycleway and by supporting the Cambridge Tree Trust."
Enviroschools is a nationwide programme funded in the Waikato by local councils.
It supports the integration of Enviroschools principles into schools, helps them explore local and global sustainability issues and to make connections with the community on sustainability.
Enviroschools regional coordinator Andrea Soanes said: "St Peters stands out because their Enviroschools programme is a true integration of sustainability throughout all aspects of school life. Teachers are supporting student questioning and action across a range of issues and contexts in subject areas. Solutions are explored and student-led action is evident."
Ms Soanes said that St Peters’ decision-making on sustainability issues involves the whole community. "They have a strong respect for culture and diversity. Sustainability is a focus in all decision-making across the school and community. This includes all aspects of waste, energy and buildings. This is evident in their wetland project right through to the energy saving systems in their old and new buildings and their extensive waste initiatives.
"The St Peters community strives to be the best it can be and has a strong desire to look after their environment," Ms Soanes said.
Cr Southgate encouraged other schools to consider celebrating their achievements by sharing their learning and actions with their wider community.
"Participation in the Enviroschools programme is a very good way to encourage sustainable community actions," she said.
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