Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bike Wise Breakfast

On Thursday morning the people of Wanaka were invited to ride their bike to work or school and call into the Lake Wanaka Center to receive a free breakfast. Bike Wise is, to quote their website

" a nationally coordinated event that promotes safety and biking as a sustainable, fun, healthy and enjoyable means of transport. Bike Wise is funded by the NZ Transport Agency and the Ministry of Health and is the only nationwide programme of cycling events."

Jo Robinson, the Road Safety Advisor for CODC and QLDC organised this event and as always, it was awesome. The breakfast ran from 7:30 until 9:30 and from what I've heard there were about 250 riders who turned up. Well done Wanaka!

Since I'm now involved with the QLDC school travel plan process and a very keen mountain biker I would not miss this event for the world. I was given the amusing, if not slightly stressful and hectic task giving out the spot prizes. We had such a fantastic turnout of riders from Wanaka Primary School. Many of those students were in my compost classes that week anyway.

At about 8:30 we had a group ride to school. Thankfully we had a couple of very large trucks with lots of flashing lights to lead and tail us. Everyone looked awesome in their hi vis vests and such safe riders. Lots of help from the parents too, which is always great to see.

What this did bring home to me though was how crazy so many drivers are in the morning, especially around schools. Come on, slow down, it's not that hard.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Compost - Wanaka Primary

This week I was invited to go to Wanaka Primary to teach the Zero Waste Education Compost unit to the senior school. We had a ball. I taught five classes each day and they were awesome. Such good thinkers and learners, so many questions and even more enthusiasm. You guys wore me out!

This was by far the hottest week I've taught this unit and it was incredible to be able to do so much of it outside. I'm not sure the worms were into the sunlight though.

All the students now have their own worm farm in a milk bottle and are armed with knowledge about all the different types of composting avail able to them. I've even heard a few parents comment that their children have come home and been through their compost heap in the back yard and started turning it. What fantastic feedback, it makes me really see how worthwhile it is.

Well done Wanaka Primary senior students, a job very well done. I'm back there next week to do reuse with the middle school, I'll have had a good sleep by then and be raring to go again.

Glad Wrap Snails - Queenstown Primary

Mrs. Fergusson set about doing a school wide experiment without anyone knowing. She had a plan afoot and decided a little secrecy was perhaps the best way of going about. She wanted to show the school the problem they have with Glad Warp and their lunches.

The idea was that her class was collecting Glad Wrap for an art project. They collected as much Glad Wrap as they could lay their hands on from school lunches for the first four days of the week. They collected 2 huge black bin sacks full of the stuff. The plan was for the artwork to be unveiled at the school assembly on Friday afternoon.

It wasn't until Friday morning that she told her class that the art project was in fact to build a huge glad wrap snail to help demonstrate how much glad wrap is used for school lunches and hopefully shock a few students and parents into moving towards a packaging free lunch.

I was asked if I could go along and help facilitate the making of the snail. It seemed like a fabulous idea to me and a great way for me to meet a senior class.

Everyone in the class was so into it, especially once they found out what it was for. We all had a go at twisting the bits of Glad Wrap and then tieing reef knots between each piece to form a very long piece of Glad Warp.

We recorded on the board how many meters had been twisted together and the then strip was hand d over to the snail maker group. Mrs. Fergusson had the fantastic idea of sticking 6 real estate boards together to make a board to mount the shell onto. We all thought this was going to be enough. How wrong we all were.

As it turns out there was almost 350m of Glad Wrap collected. We managed to make 3 adult snails shells spanning 6 real estate boards each. The rest of the snail was painted onto the boards and then the class presented them to the whole school during assembly. They are going to repeat the experiment at the end of term one. fingers crossed we will only have some baby snails....

I think this is a fantastic way to visually how much of this non recyclable waste is generated in Queesntown Primary in one week. The class have also prepared some information for parents to go in the school newsletter so they can find out how easy it is for their children to have a packaging free lunch.

Well done Mrs. Fergussons class, job well done!
Look we even made the paper! Get a copy of this weeks Queenstown Mirror and have a look. Well done Queenstown Primary.

Brainstorming Sustainable - An Intorodcution to Enviroschools

I was invited to Rooms 16 & 17 to help them kick off their year and school wide focus on Enviroschools. What an offer. We decided one of the best ways to do this was to explore the idea of the word 'Sustainable' & 'Sustainability' and what it meant to the children.

We had so much fun. The children were awesome and we soon got into the nitty gritty of what the word meant to them. Where things came from, as in resources, how we cna renew them and why we used resources that we couldn't use. So many ideas.

We had a think about Water, Waste, Energy, Leisure and transport. Then using the fabulous big picture form the Enviuroschools kit we split into groups. Each group had one subject and their mission was to look at the picture and find as many elements of their topic as possible. Armed with paper, used on one side of course, and some pens the groups set about their search.

They had about 10 minuts to get investigating then one person from each group came and presented back to the whole class. You guys were awesome. The investigation was fabulous and pretty much no stone was left unturned.

Both these classes now have a much better understanding of what these words mean and from what I could see they are already thinking about what they can do as part of being an Enviroschool. Well done Queenstown Primary.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

After an awesome Christmas with my family I'm back to the sunshine and warm weather.

2009 is looking like it is going to be a very busy year for me and our schools. Makarora Primary, Wanaka Primary and Queenstown Primary are focusing their attention towards their continued Enviroschools work. So look out everyone, there is going to be even more amazing work done this year.

I'm also working with QLDC to help schools create travel plans. I think that the way we get to and from school is so important. If we can help a school, students and parents do this in a more sustainable and safe fashion then everyone is a winner. I also believe we can make it fun too!

If I haven't delivered any of the Zero Waste Education units in your school get in touch and we can book a time, the children love them. hopefully I'll be trained on the other units soon so we can start getting those booked in and delivered.

Remember, I'm here to help, no matter how large or small your idea or question is, email, phone or pop in and see me, we'll be able to come up with a solution.