En­vi­roschool buzzing over green theme

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - KATY JONES

Nay­land Pri­mary School’s gar­den club is a hive of ac­tiv­ity.

A clus­ter of pupils mound up soil around newly planted pota­toes, while oth­ers bed in tomato plants and straw­ber­ries, and munch on just picked broad beans.

The new­est fea­ture of the gar­den is a bee­hive for leaf­cut­ter bees, ex­plains year one teacher, Gill

Todd, who heads the

Thurs­day lunchtime club.

‘‘They are nonag­gres­sive bees and they don’t make honey, like reg­u­lar bees, but they’re re­ally good pol­li­na­tors, ex­plains Todd.

‘‘And they’re soli­tary bees so they don’t swarm or any­thing like that; quite safe around the chil­dren.’’

A bum­ble­bee house has also been do­nated by New World su­per­mar­ket, in the name of pol­li­na­tion.

They’ve been added to the gar­den af­ter the ‘‘en­vi­roschool’’ set up a but­ter­fly en­clo­sure last year, to pro­tect cater­pil­lars that were be­ing eaten by Asian wasps.

‘‘We’ve had this pro­ject with monarch but­ter­flies, and the chil­dren have done a lit­tle bit of re­search around what will at­tract the but­ter­flies to our school,’’ Todd said.

‘‘And we have found out that we need more flow­ers grow­ing, and that led to find­ing out about bees and pol­li­na­tion as well.’’

Year five stu­dent, Lexi Watson, is work­ing on a veg­etable patch where the new bee­hive’s been housed.

When the 10-yearold started plant­ing her part of the gar­den, she didn’t know a hive would end up in it.

‘‘We were try­ing to find some­where sunny for it last week ... we’ve got lots of flow­ers that need pol­li­nat­ing.’’

Since be­com­ing an en­vi­roschool in 2007, Nay­land has earned it­self green-gold sta­tus; the high­est of three ‘‘re­flec­tion stages.’’

It is one of 23 pri­mary and sec­ondary schools and early child­hood cen­tres in Nelson that have joined the en­vi­roschool pro­gramme, ac­count­ing for 61 per cent of schools.

Over 1100 schools have joined the pro­gramme since it was launched na­tion­wide in 2001; a third of all schools and 5 per cent of the ECE sec­tor.

Nay­land’s en­viro lead teacher, Jan­ice Cow­ley, says the school has slowly de­vel­oped projects like the gar­den over sev­eral years.

‘‘It’s about get­ting as much in­volve­ment from chil­dren and staff,’’ says Cow­ley, who works with a team of teach­ers ded­i­cated to green projects, like re­cy­cling and com­post­ing.

Be­com­ing an en­vi­roschool is ‘‘ab­so­lutely’’ worth­while, she says.

‘‘I’ve seen stu­dents that have gone through here, and as they’ve grown up what they’ve ended up do­ing, and how they’ve car­ried it on, and I think that’s the im­por­tant part.’’

Cow­ley says her col­leagues have been on vis­its to other schools to share ideas.

The pro­gramme’s na­tional co­or­di­na­tors say the ini­tia­tive aims ‘‘to fos­ter a gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple who in­stinc­tively think and act sus­tain­ably’’, sup­port­ing ‘‘chil­dren and young peo­ple to plan, de­sign and im­ple­ment sus­tain­abil­ity ac­tions that are im­por­tant to them‘‘.

BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Nay­land pupil, Lexi Watson, 10, with a bee­hive for leaf cut­ter bees which is part of the school’s gar­den club.

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