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