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Published: 2011-12-14 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council has awarded about $5400 for environmental projects at three of the region’s schools.

The council yesterday endorsed a finance and audit committee recommendation to award money from the Enviroschools Grant Fund to:

  • Tuakau Primary school in Franklin for a 24 tree fruit orchard ($2459)
  • Waikino School, near Waihi, for native forest planting ($450)
  • St Peter’s Catholic School, near Cambridge, for a small glasshouse ($2479).

Enviroschools grants fund environmental initiatives in schools and promote the integration of sustainable practices into the school curriculum.

The council’s schools programme coordinator Andrea Soanes said: “It’s fantastic to see schools committing to hands-on environmental learning.

“These schools are creating great community resources that will benefit students now and into the future,” she said.

The Tuakau fruit orchard will be planted on school property adjacent to the existing community garden, providing many benefits to the school and the wider community.

It’s envisaged the orchard will create habitats for wildlife and increase biodiversity, while promoting sustainable practices. The orchard will also help to provide children in the school with some of their 5-plus a day of fruit and vegetables.

Classroom exercises will include graphing of tree growth, nature drawing, and cooking using fruit from the orchard. Tuakau students will manage their orchard organically and plan to source fertiliser from their worm farm.

Waikino School plans to plant 150 native trees adjacent to the school’s butterfly garden. Students have chosen native trees based on a variety of criteria, with food for birds being the most important. Students will be involved long term in monitoring tree health and creating supplementary habitats to encourage wildlife and pest management. The school will work with Wild about Waihi on management of the native trees.

St Peter’s Catholic School has received funding for a small glasshouse and storage shed, which will be built, under supervision, by the students. The school already has a well-established vegetable garden, but students now want to propagate seeds and grow their own seedlings, sharing extras with the school community. The garden shed will be used to store tools and equipment.

Get further information on the criteria for the Enviroschools Grant Fund.