Enviroschools Submission to ORC

ODT on ORC SubmissionsThanks Sophia and team

We are so proud of our Manager, Sophia Leon de la Barra who was one of four submitters at the Otago Regional Council’s annual plan hearings on Tuesday.

Along with three delightful kids from Maheno School (thanks Ben, Gemma and Lillie), Sophia took the opportunity to present to Council about funding Enviroschools programme in the Waitaki District.

Waitaki Community Gardens (WCG) has already brought our Kids Growing programme to 14 local schools. It’s a programme that teaches kids (and their families) life skills in gardening, cooking and living more sustainably.

As you know, we are wholly dependent on grants and sponsorship for funding. Our Kids Growing is run at no cost to schools and is a hugely popular programme with kids, teachers and parents already. And these kinds of life skills are fundamental to the future of our children and the well being of our district.

What is Enviroschools?

EnviroschoolsEnviroschools is a nationwide programme supporting over 1000 schools and early childhood centres to adopt a whole-school approach to sustainability. It takes our Kids Growing programme to the next level producing rich biodiversity, healthy water, clean energy, healthy food and nurturing environments in schools, communities, ecosystems and neighbourhoods.

We know that the Waitaki District Council’s Annual Plan objectives include: improving water quality, development and implementation of our District Biodiversity Strategy, improving air quality, increasing community engagement, as well as education about waste management.

What’s the evidence it works?

In 2014, a comprehensive census of Enviroschools was conducted to evaluate their impact and outcomes. A wide range of 688 schools from all deciles, sectors, and regions participated in the evaluation.

  • 100% of participating schools reported having a range of waste minimization plans and actions in place.
  • 97% of Enviroschools are growing and harvesting produce from their school gardens and orchards.
  • 96% of Enviroschools are undertaking biodiversity projects in collaboration with their local communities with 86,859 trees planted in 2014.
  • 75% of Enviroschools are undertaking a range of actions to conserve and improve water quality, including 19,264 metros of riparian plantings in 2014.
  • 69% of Enviroschools are tackling energy usage projects,including actions for sustainable transport (47%) and energy conservation actions (34%).

Additionally, Enviroschools contributed to a range of other outcomes including citizenship, community engagement, health, cultural understanding, and motivated learners. Enviroschools foster significant community collaboration through biodiversity projects, creating leadership pathways for students and real connections to families and local communities.

Why do we care so much?

Our Kids Growing programme shows us the real change that takes place when kids get an opportunity like Enviroschools. We’re talking about empowering kids and families to make positive choices everyday.

Recent survey results from Kids Growing indicate that:

  • 89% of our Kids Growing participants now grow their own food at home!
  • 66% of our Kids Growing participants are now eating the 5+ fruit and veg daily!

Imagine what Enviroschools could do for our Waitaki community! This programme impacts so positively on health, capability, sustainability and community engagement. That’s a whole heap of goodness right there, out of the box.

We think we’d be crazy not to try to secure funding to ensure this happens. So the question has to be – what do you think?

You can find out more about the Enviroschools programme here.

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