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Students from Rangi Ruru Girls’ School will head out to Kerrs Reach in Avonside this Saturday to help in the ‘Mother of all Clean-Ups’.
On the eve of Mother's Day, community groups will once again work together to clean up the riverbanks of the Avon and estuary edge at thirty-five different sites, in what has become an annual event. Last year, 815 volunteers collected just over five tonnes of carelessly discarded rubbish.
Rangi Rower, Sophie Pye, and Esther Hwang (both Year 12), are helping to organise the school group – Sophie is a rower and knows the Kerrs Reach part of the Avon well, and Esther is a student passionate about sustainability.
“The impact of plastic pollution on our environment is clear and evident. We don’t have much time before the damage becomes irreversible, which is why Rangi has jumped on board with the Mother of All Clean Ups,” says Sophie. “It’s a really cool thing that seventy-five girls are willing to give up their time to help make changes and do their part. If teenage girls are so driven and passionate about saving our planet, then what’s stopping the rest of our population?”
Teacher Head of Sustainability at Rangi, Kate Rivers, says it’s crucial to practice what you preach.
“We prepare our students for a lifetime of sustainable living, through teaching, values and day to day practices,” she says. “Some of our most significant sustainability achievements include Rangi Ruru becoming carbon neutral in 2017; maintaining an extensive reuse programme, becoming a Fairtrade School and an Enviroschool, separating waste and reducing waste to landfill by 58%. Becoming a water only school and converting to compostable products in our dining room significantly helped reduce waste.”
Esther Hwang says after learning about what service is and the impact it can make, she was keen to be involved in something which was related to community service.
“Our Global Living class wanted to not only create an awareness of the problems in our community but also make a difference so we chose the Mother of All Clean Ups,” she says. “I when people see a tangible difference after an event like this, they are more likely to want to get involved and be a part of that positive change.”
“Year 12 Global Living - Sustainability students are currently working to establish a glasshouse onsite to enable students to continue to grow vegetables for local community groups in need over the winter months and looking to establish a biodigester to convert green waste to gas” says Rosa Davies (Year 12).
In 2018, Rangi Ruru was a finalist in the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards and student leader, Head of Sustainability Rosetta Brown was one of three finalist in the Keep NZ Beautiful Awards. “Service and Sustainability are woven into the culture of our school” says Rosetta.