Community Climate Action Plan of Ngatimoti School

Creating a healthy, peaceful and sustainable world through facilitating action-learning; where inter-generations of people work with and learn from nature -weaving in Māori perspectives, combining traditional wisdoms with new understandings. Importantly, our kaupapa reminds us to be in connection: to love, care for and respect ourselves, each other and our planet.

Who you are and site of action: Ngatimoti School is a state primary school in a village in the Motueka River Valley.

Goals of your climate action plan: Ngatimoti is an Enviroschool. The kaupapa of Enviroschools is: The Enviroschools kaupapa is creating a healthy, peaceful and sustainable world through facilitating action-learning; where inter-generations of people work with and learn from nature. It weaves in Māori perspectives, combining traditional wisdoms with new understandings. Importantly, our kaupapa reminds us to be in connection: to love, care for and respect ourselves, each other and our planet.

How you went about it: Ngatimoti is probably the oldest Enviroschool in the area, and has accrued commitment to its principles over 20 years from teachers, parents and children. It now serves as a leader in helping other schools develop as Enviroschools. There is a great deal of engagement with the children in developing foci, projects and so on. An early focus was the health of a stream in an adjacent property. This has extended to care of a nearby wetland, projects to enhance birdlife in the area, and the children’s practising the principles of organic gardening to grow their own food. The school runs Envirodays, where each teacher has a ‘station’ representing a particular issue or problem, and the children visit the stations, selecting an area to study more deeply. The children pay attention to their own behaviour in relation to resources and the environment, in terms of using energy, using plastic, wasting food and so on. The school pays attention to its own operations in terms of employing passive solar principles in new building and in heating the swimming pool, and no use of fossil fuels for space heating.

What you’ve accomplished so far. How long did this take? The school’s coverage of the ecological issues within its purview is very broad, and includes its own operations as well as educational and practical content in learning. The children appear to have assimilated ecological principles to the point where they seem ‘second nature.’ The health of the stream, which is measured regularly, has improved. This culture has been developing for 20 years.

Most children come by bus to school. Relatively few are driven by car. If teachers need to attend a conference in the nearest city, Nelson, they are encouraged to car pool.

Lessons learned, obstacles overcome: Because new children are constantly entering the school, lessons must be revisited to maintain the culture of the school. New staff are supported by old staff as they learn both principles and practice. The local government body, Tasman District Council, runs workshops for Enviroschools teachers.

Funding for materials is sometimes a problem. Tasman District Council also helps with this.

Certain aspects of projects require adult help, for example, keeping weeds down in newly planted areas. Working bees are run to fill this need.

Fitting the environmental programme, with visits to stream and wetland, and attention to the gardens, into a busy curriculum can be a challenge.

Contact details: office@ngatimoti.school.nz

Freja Broughton, 9 years old, and the ‘Bug Hotel’ at Ngatimoti School

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