Waipahihi School: Focus on the Environment Inside the Classroom and Out

Waipahihi School is one of the two primary schools currently involved in this project.

Before joining Kids Greening Taupo, the school primarily focused on dealing with rubbish and recycling. They sent away food waste to people to feed chickens and pigs. The school has had a worm farm for two years. However, this past summer a lot of dangerous trees were cut down, leaving a huge big space. This was not all though—all the native birds had disappeared along with them.

To bring the bird life back, Waipahihi have been greening their school by planting trees. In an event sponsored by BNZ, the school cut back just 8 trees and replaced them with 500! Every kid planted their own plant and the school all got together to improve the environment.

This focus on the environment has reached the classrooms as well. The staff are trying to teach the students about the links between a healthy environment and people. Andrew, a Year 6, said that he has been learning about the environment in class and found it interesting. They have watched Internet videos to learn about native trees and climate, which they then wrote about. Some students have also read Maori legends and made artwork based on them.

Each class is involved with their own projects, called He Manu Whenua. Some classes have been making pathways, or Te Aranoa. Others have been propagating plants, tracking pests or making sculptures.

This year, the school entered a competition called "Treemendous" in which schools send the judges a short video on what they are working on. They placed ninth in the competition, so, as part of the top ten, they have to extend their video. If they place in the top four then they will receive a grant of $50,000!

On the launch day, their tent will be holding a "prints and poos" station, where visitors must match up paw-prints and poos to the animal that made them.

Keep up the good work Waipahihi!

—Jack McNeill

Ash Stephens