Stu­dents are work­ing with na­ture

Whanganui Midweek - - COMMUNITY LINK -

Aber­feldy School is a long­stand­ing mem­ber of the En­vi­roschools pro­gramme in the Whanganui dis­trict. The school is lo­cated about half an hour’s drive from the city on the Para­para high­way and has stu­dents at­tend­ing from across Whanganui.

It’s a small ru­ral school and has had a num­ber of new en­rol­ments this year. Many of the new fam­i­lies are in­ter­ested in what the En­vi­roschools pro­gramme can of­fer their chil­dren about the im­por­tance of sus­tain­abil­ity ed­u­ca­tion around the world. The En­vi­roschools pro­gramme is in­tended to fos­ter a gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple who in­stinc­tively think and act sus­tain­ably.

“We were due to start on our new out­door learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment ear­lier this year but due to un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances, con­struc­tion is only just about to get un­der­way this month,” says prin­ci­pal Fran Lam­bert. The out­door learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment was planned by stu­dents past and present and will in­clude a labyrinth, sen­sory gar­dens, sand­pit, pizza oven, bike track, mu­sic wall, but­ter­fly mo­saics, wa­ter fea­tures, raised gar­den beds, a sun dial and a wil­low tun­nel. Stu­dents have been in­volved through­out the plan­ning, and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion is help­ing fund and man­age the project.

One of the En­vi­roschools’ guid­ing prin­ci­pals is “em­pow­ered stu­dents” and Aber­feldy School stu­dents are in­volved in plan­ning and de­sign­ing how they want the school to look and feel.

Mean­while, it is spring and the stu­dents have been busy plant­ing all sorts of veg­etable seeds and help­ing nur­ture them to grow so they can then plant them out in their gar­dens. They have planted spinach, beans, straw­ber­ries and wa­ter­melon.

Although some re­cent plans at Aber­feldy have taken longer than hoped, the stu­dents aren’t let­ting that get in the way of their en­thu­si­asm and cre­ativ­ity. The school has had plans to build a cob hut for some time now but hasn’t had any luck get­ting the clay re­quired to get this project off the ground. So now they are look­ing at the old tyres they have ly­ing around and won­der­ing if these could be used to build an “earth­ship” — an eco build­ing that makes use of old car tyres, a waste prod­uct, as in­fill for the walls.

The tyres are then rammed with earth and plas­tered over. Stu­dents have been re­search­ing how to build an earth­ship and hope to gather the ma­te­ri­als to get started soon.

PIC­TURE / SUP­PLIED

Stu­dents proudly show­ing the seedlings they are grow­ing. Indica is hold­ing up plans for the Out­door Learn­ing En­vi­ron­ment. From left: Indica Brown, Is­abella Brown, Fern-Louise King, Iris McLaugh­lin, Heaven Te Ahuru-Fal­wasser and Azalea McLaugh­lin.

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