Grassy, classy kids stand up for planet

Wanganui Chronicle - - News - By Jesse King Jesse King 06 349 0710 ext 50729

Green was the theme when When­u­akura School in Patea cel­e­brated World En­vi­ron­ment Day.

Stu­dents dressed in grassy colours and took part in ac­tiv­i­ties de­vised to pro­tect not only New Zealand, but the whole world.

Prin­ci­pal of When­u­akura School, Kat Haerewa, said cel­e­brat­ing the day last Tues­day was a real eye-opener.

“As staff, we de­cided that the day was some­thing we wanted to cel­e­brate and we talked about it a lot. In the end we said, re­ally, cel­e­brat­ing the Earth and cel­e­brat­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and get­ting our learn­ers to do the same should be some­thing we do ev­ery sin­gle day.”

When­u­akura stu­dents fol­lowed the three Rs — re­duce, reuse and re­cy­cle. They re­duced rub­bish on the day by hav­ing rub­bish-free lunch­boxes.

Then they had a toy swap, so play­things could be reused. “We buy so much, of­ten things that we don’t need. And then we throw them away when we’re fin­ished,” Haerewa said.

“We en­cour­aged the stu­dents to bring in an old toy they might nor­mally throw away, that the other kids might like and it was good for them to see that just be­cause they don’t want it any­more, doesn’t mean it’s use­less.”

Next, stu­dents used re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als to make a planet Earth. They wrote en­vi­ron­men­tal mes­sages on it and put it on dis­play.

Fi­nally, they planted trees awarded to them through the Paper4trees pro­gramme, which en­cour­ages pa­per re­cy­cling and re­wards schools for their ef­forts.

The day tied in well with When­u­akura School’s re­cent inquiry into the com­mu­nity’s wa­ter­ways, where stu­dents


vis­ited the When­u­akura and Patea rivers and Patea Dam and came up with plans for pro­tect­ing the wa­ter­ways.

They also had a mufti day and the dona­tions made were given to the South Taranaki Reef Life project. “They were so ex­cited. We’re a uni­form school so for them to be in mufti, they went all-out — one boy came dressed as a duck-shooter in a cam­ou­flage bush out­fit,” Haerewa said.

“The project is spe­cial to the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially in light of the drilling at Patea Beach.”

South Taranaki Reef Life project lead Karen Pratt worked with some of the stu­dents at the beach and got them in­volved in clean­ing it up.

Haerewa said: “They are very in­ter­ested nat­u­rally in the world around them and they like it when they can learn off other ex­perts and make a dif­fer­ence in their com­mu­nity. We’re just re­ally try­ing to in­stil . . . their ac­tions can make a dif­fer­ence.”

When­u­akura School stu­dents cel­e­brate World En­vi­ron­ment Day.


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