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Published: 2014-09-12 00:00:00

Rhode Street School in Dinsdale has been granted $11,000 by Waikato Regional Council to help complete its leading edge ecological island project.

The council’s finance committee agreed to the grant from the environmental initiatives fund this week after hearing of the way the project helps with environmental education and promotes sustainability.

A report to the committee said the school is widely recognised as a leader in environmental education and health promotion.

“The school is focused on ecological sustainability and social responsibility,” the report said.

They have completed many projects over the past seven years at the school including the establishment of vegetable gardens, a nursery and a nature walk.

Then in 2011 students had the idea of building an “ecological island” to showcase and protect our natural environment. It now incorporates three shipping containers which act as an interactive classroom.

Elements of the project the $11,000 from the council will go towards include insulation and lighting for the containers, the construction of a student-designed swing bridge to the island and a drawbridge for disabled access. The school also is looking at renewable energy options, which the council will consider funding separately.

Activities on the island will include the school’s environmental “Green Team” of students hosting Rhode Street students and other schools.

Rhode Street School is already a Green Gold Enviroschool with its principal Shane Ngatai well known for environmental learning initiatives, said committee chairwoman Jane Hennebry.

“The committee is happy to support the project’s completion as our staff believe it has potential to be an internationally recognised facility providing multiple opportunities for learning, research and development well into the future.”