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Environment Waikato programme makes a splash with students

Environment Waikato’s Rivers and Us education programme is a growing success story, the council’s Environment Committee heard at its meeting in Hamilton recently.

The Rivers and Us educational unit focuses on the relationships between people and the Waikato region’s water resources.

Environment Waikato’s schools coordinator Dean King has taken 1500 children on field trips as part of the programme over the 2006/07 financial year.

“Certainly there is a growing interest in environmental issues, and particularly water quality, in our region,” he said.

“But I believe the real benefit of the programme is the ongoing learning that continues in schools and the community afterwards.

“Some schools become involved in stream restoration which is fantastic, while some other students and teachers are inspired to explore other environmental issues including waste, energy and biodiversity, and take action towards addressing them.”

Mr King said the programme was “really making a splash with students”.

“By encouraging students to stop and listen to the sounds of the bush and the stream and exploring the freshwater invertebrate and fish life with nets and using other equipment to monitor water quality, we’re helping students engage with the environment,” he said.

“The key is developing that sense of participation and action.”

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