Green efforts earn Gold for two Hamilton schools

Thursday 1 December 2011, 3:36PM
By Hamilton City Council


Two Hamilton primary schools will be presented with top national environmental education awards next week.

Rhode St School and Hillcrest Normal School will receive Enviroschools’ Green Gold Awards for their efforts in environmental action and sustainability. The awards will be presented by Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman at Hamilton Gardens on Tuesday, 6 December at 1pm.

Enviroschools is a whole school approach where staff, students and the wider school community work together, with support from an Enviroschools Facilitator, to integrate environmental education into key areas of school life. This national programme has strong ties to Hamilton – it was initially piloted in three Hamilton schools in 1993 and is today facilitated in 60% of schools in the city in partnership between Hamilton City Council and Waikato Regional Council.

Rhode St School has earned the Green Gold status through its efforts in growing students’ confidence in designing, building and articulating the projects that have occurred and continue to evolve through its participation in Enviroschools. The school has been involved in Enviroschools since 2007 and among its successful initiatives are its sensory garden, recycling scheme and annual Kai Festival.

For Hillcrest Normal School, strong leadership by staff and students and a focus on learning for sustainability, has seen it achieve its Green Gold Award. By exploring local and global issues at depth, students have sought alternatives to environmental and social issues, and have taken action within their school, homes and community. Waste reduction and management, energy conservation and solar energy, sustainable transport and the development of natural habitats, food gardens and play areas within the school are some of its successful Enviroschools initiatives that the school has achieved since joining the programme in 2003.

Cr Chesterman said the two award-winning schools have set the bar for other Enviroschools in Hamilton and across the country.

“I wish to commend the students, staff and wider school community from Rhode St School and Hillcrest Normal School for their outstanding efforts in achieving Enviroschools’ Green Gold status and helping make Hamilton and New Zealand cleaner, greener and more sustainable. We all have a role to play in caring for our environment,” he said.

Heidi Mardon, National Director of The Enviroschools Foundation, has also applauded the schools’ efforts.

"Sustainability isn’t just a school topic to simply learn about and then move on, it’s a global challenge that needs deep enquiry and real innovation to make happen – and that’s what these students and schools are doing. It’s this community leadership that took Enviroschools from being a small seed-funded project to an internationally recognised movement - these students are literally changing the world,” she said.

Next week’s presentation of the Green Gold awards coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Enviroschools programme, which was launched nationally on 5 December 2001, following the success of the Hamilton pilot programme.

In 2003 the Enviroschools Foundation was established to provide greater leadership and a strong organisational structure to help build regional partnerships with Councils and community groups around New Zealand. Today 26% of schools nationwide are part of the Enviroschools programme.

Hukanui School is the only other school in Hamilton to currently hold Enviroschools’ Green Gold status.

Note to editors:

Media are invited to attend the presentation of the Enviroschools Green Gold Awards at the Hamilton Gardens’ Pavilion on Tuesday, 6 December at 1pm.