WELCOME TO THE ELM PARK SCHOOL ECO AGENTS BLOG
Who Are We?
We are chosen by our classmates to form our school Envirogroup. We represent our class at meetings and have a real interest in the environment. We report information to the whole school in assemblies and newsletters and encourage the whole school to be involved in working towards a sustainable school. We make decisions and help others to achieve their environmental projects.
We have had a long journey to get to where we are now and before we report on our amazing current projects and achievements it is best to start at the beginning........
Our Journey As An Enviroschool From 2005 to 2010
Written by the Envirogroup Co-ordinator
A group interested in keeping our stream clean worked with Wai Care and Ms M. during this year.
A gardening group was also created and worked at lunchtimes to improve the gardens and grow vegetables as well as flowers and ornamentals. This sparked an interest amongst the students in the environment and sowed the seeds for becoming an enviroschool.
The first Envirogroup was officially formed and included Ms M, Mrs A, 25 students from year 4,5,6, and was supported by Mrs J Environmental Coordinator from the ARC. and the Envirogroup helped to plant trees on the Logan Carr reserve an ink cartridge recycling system was set up.
Projects for this year;
Herb, flower and vegetable gardens were created throughout the whole school by the students by re-designing and re-making existing ones.
Mosaic tiles were made by seniors and decorated with symbols and patterns representing different cultures.
Juniors painted a tile wall of plants and flowers they had learnt about at the Botannic Gardens.x
The Endeavour class won the future-in-tech competition with the water feature we installed by the international office.
We came 3rd in the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust Best School Gardens project award.
This year the whole school learning focus was "Celebrations".
This year the envirogroup members included student representatives from year 3 upwards. They became known as the Eco Agents and also included Ms M and Mrs A. Mrs J from the ARC supplied a badge maker and an the first Eco Agents badge was designed and made by the group.
Projects this year were
Maintaining the gardens created last year. Gardening tools were purchased for this purpose and every class "adopted" an area to care for.
"Switch it off " campaign was initiated by the Eco Agents with the aim to save electricity useage. Classes assign monitors to switch off everything in classrooms when not needed.
Painting the storm water drains was undertaken in parts of the school playground to ensure only water went down the drain.
The Eco Agents began presenting information at School assemblies and introduced a reward system for students that were "caught caring for our environment".
Hanging baskets were planted up and cared for by the Juniors.
A small worm farm was begun and the worm tea and castings used on the gardens.
This year the whole school learning focus was "Making A Difference".
The Envirogroup this year again was made up of chosen members from Years 3-6. The National Bank sponsored t-shirts for the Eco Agents and we made badges again with Mrs J's badge maker.
Projects for this year were;
Mercury Energy donated a worm farm which would recycle all the fruit and vegetable waste from students' lunchboxes, handtowels from the toilets, coffee grinds, leaves and garden waste. The Eco Agents designed a system to collect this waste from the whole school. The worm tea was collected in bottles and the castings put onto our gardens. The excess worm tea was sold at the gate or by order to our school community. A waste audit showed we were able to reduce the amount of rubbish we were sending to the landfill by half - from 60kg to 30 kg.
An Enviroday had everyone involved in activities in the environment.
Our whole school production centered around a river journey and included many environmental aspects.
The learning theme for this year was "Changes" and the Eco Agents lead the whole school in creating changes to our practices, knowledge and actions within the environment.
The Eco Agents initiated "litterfree lunch" days and encouraged the whole school to change the choices they made in the way they brought their food and drinks to school in order to reduce our landfill waste. They introduced the Zero Waste Wally award along with Pekepeke and Putiputi, all soft toys that are awarded to classes with the most litterfree lunchboxes.
Recycling became a focus and lunchbox yoghurt pots were collected, washed and put in the recycling wheelie bin.
The Envirogroup consisted of representatives from years 3-6.
The projects for this year were;
Maintaining the edible gardens and worm farm which the eco agents organised with the help of classes.
The middle school designed and created a new garden by Room 12 and planted black planter boxes with edibles.
The boys class designed and created a lizard garden to attract lizards and provide a habitat for them.
The Senior School students took part in a graffiti project and painted out tagging in our area. They also work with the police to monitor the speed to traffic passing our school and encouraged drivers to drive safely.
The "Green Team" was started with the help of Mrs V, Mrs H, and Mrs A. Students volunteered to help care for the environment in their lunchtime. Tasks included weeding,watering and fertilising gardens, sweeping paths, collected dead leaves, picking up rubbish.
The whole school was involved in the "Great NZ Spring Clean" and were highly commended in a competition organised by the Manukau City Council in conjunction with this project.
HIGHLIGHTS - We are a Bronze Enviroschool!
Towards the end of this year the Envirogroup reflected upon the actions and practices taken in our school this and previous years and compared them to those that describe a bronze Enviroschool. After gathering evidence and much discussion it was agreed that we are a bronze enviroschool. At an official celebration day organised by the Auckland City Council chosen members of the Envirogroup collected our bronze enviroschool certificate.
This year the whole school was involved with a year long inquiry on Sustainability beginning with the unit "Me In My Environment". This unit connected us with our school environment and every class began to record their learning journey for the year in an Enviro Scrapbook. Ideas on how to take action for a more sustainable school were generated, then collected and collated by the Envirogroup to develop a whole school Vision Map. A Vision Statement was also written to guide our practices and actions. These were adopted by the whole school community when the Eco Agents presented it to the Board of Trustees.
This year the Eco Agents also took part in an Arbor Day planting organised by the Council at Lloyd Elsmore Park and attended a day at the Botannic gardens learning how to grow and care for plants and the many ways Maori use the native flora. They won third prize in the garden sculpture competition with their garden robot made from recycled materials.
They continued to deliver environmental messages to the whole school at assemblies and through the school newsletter informed the community of their progress. They maintained our paper and plastics recycling systems and as a result of auditing our waste sent to the landfill promoted a whole school litterfree lunch on every Thursday. This resulted in classes auditing their own lunchboxes and the beginning of schoolwide litterfree lunchboxes for everyone, everyday.
Projects for this year;
The worm farm became the responsibility of the year 4 classes to maintain and administer as begun in previous years.
A native tree playground to increase native tree numbers and attract more birds and allow students to enjoy the area was designed by the year 4 syndicate.
A compost bin was designed and built by Room 18 students.
The boys class extended the lizard garden and added an information board to it.
Senior classes took action to improve the adjacent Elm Park Reserve and near by Pakuranga stream through the "Adopt A Park" and Waicare programmes. Herb and ornamental gardens were designed and created. A weather station was set up and data was regularly collected and sent to N.A.S.A.
The year 5 classes went to Motuihe to help plant natives in a restoration project begun on the island and went to Tiritiri Matangi to learn about the native birds and restoration on that island.
Junior classes adopted a garden area to redesign, plant and maintain and worked on attracting birds into the playground by designing and creating a range of different bird feeders. A tyre garden was developed at the back of the new library by the year 2 classes.
Year 3 classes created a butterfly house and grew swan plants to increase the monarch butterfly population.
The Green Team was continued from last year with enthusiastic volunteers keen to make a difference in the playground environment.
During the year the whole school was involved in special Enviro days, a trip to Barry Curtis Park, writing our school pepeha and Matariki celebrations and our annual Art exhibition was themed around the environment.