New gar­den beds for St Ge­orge’s

Whanganui Midweek - - NEWS -

St Ge­orge’s School is get­ting new gar­den beds, thanks to the sup­port of the school com­mu­nity

The stu­dents from class 234JG are fizzing with ex­cite­ment about their newly de­vel­oped gar­den area and busy grow­ing plants from seed.

The de­vel­op­ment of the gar­den area par­tic­u­larly en­cap­su­lates one of the En­vi­roschools five guid­ing prin­ci­ples: ‘learn­ing for sus­tain­abil­ity’. This means learn­ing about the environment, in the environment.

St Ge­orge’s has strong sense of pride in their school. Stu­dents are ex­cited about their new gar­den area and are al­ways ea­ger to get into their gar­den­ing gear in­clud­ing gum­boots and gloves. Stu­dents in class 234JG have been care­fully rais­ing seedlings in the class­room from seeds they se­lected them­selves from a cat­a­logue. The first seedlings planted out in the new gar­den beds were let­tuce and spinach, but when asked what else they might like, they all said “straw­ber­ries!”. The gar­den beds were built over a week­end by par­ents and stu­dents with help from “Un­cle Colin”. The shed was built by stu­dents at Wan­ganui Col­le­giate in a pre­vi­ous agri­cul­ture course.

Since be­com­ing an En­vi­roschool in 2017, St Ge­orge’s has been learn­ing about what it means to be a sus­tain­able school. One of the ear­li­est projects was to run an au­dit of the waste pro­duced at the school and then im­ple­ment pro­cesses to work to­wards re­duc­ing that waste and help di­vert as much of it as pos­si­ble from the land­fill. The school pur­chased a worm farm but it turned out it wasn’t big enough for the amount of food waste gen­er­ated so they are re­spond­ing to that by build­ing a larger worm farm out of a re­pur­posed bath tub.

Plans are un­der­way to cre­ate a stu­dent-led en­vi­rogroup that will have meet­ings to de­cide on fu­ture plans. Ge­orge and Con­nor, both year 8 stu­dents, have been nom­i­nated to lead this group as they have shown en­thu­si­asm and lead­er­ship in learn­ing for sus­tain­abil­ity. The group will act as a voice for all stu­dents and the group will can­vas the school to get their thoughts and opin­ions on all things en­vi­ron­men­tal. Projects will need to be pri­ori­tised as the stu­dents al­ready have many great ideas but not enough time in the day. An ex­cur­sion is be­ing planned for term 4 to in­tro­duce stu­dents to lo­cal con­ser­va­tion projects that they may be able to get in­volved with.

An­other one of the guid­ing prin­ci­ples for En­vi­roschools is “em­pow­ered stu­dents”. This in­cludes giv­ing stu­dents the chance to have their say and to learn by do­ing, mak­ing mis­takes and re­flect­ing on what they have learned. By cre­at­ing an en­vi­rogroup, stu­dents will have a say in what they want to learn about and how they want their jour­ney to go. Work­ing in this way will en­sure stu­dents learn that they can make a dif­fer­ence, the school says.

■ En­vi­roschools are sup­ported by Whanganui District Coun­cil and Hori­zons Re­gional Coun­cil. Schools in­ter­ested in the pro­gramme can con­tact Ron Fisher di­rectly at ron.en­vi­


Stu­dents from class 234JG with teacher, Ja­coba Glenny (at the back) and en­viro lead­ers, Con­nor and Ge­orge (3rd and 4th from left) en­joy­ing the out­doors and look­ing for­ward to plant­ing up their new raised gar­den beds.

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