Thursday, March 19, 2009

Enviroschools Otago Regional Hui

On Tuesday I went to Dunedin for the Otago Regional Hui. This years theme was 'Water for Life'. With this theme in mind the event was run at Mount Grand Water Treatment Station, Arae Te Uru Marae and the Kaikorai stream. As usual it was a fantastic day.

Wanaka Primary and Queenstown Primary made the trip over, so our district was very well represented. You guys were awesome. We try to get as much student involvement as possible in these regional hui's, and it certainly happened at this one.

The day started at Mount Grand. I had no idea how much effort goes into creating the water we drink. The tour we went on was superb, the guide was fantastic, he knew answers to every question that was fired at him.

We got to see every part of the process, from injection of alulminimum into the water, the separation of the sludge off the top right through to the zapping with UV light. Absolutely fascinating. The next time you flush the toilet, water the garden, leave the tap on when brushing your teeth.....have a think about the effort, energy and expense that goes into making that water drinkable. I can't think of a better way to educate our children about conserving water than showing them the process it takes to make the water drinkable.
This is the computer nerve centre of the plant

This is where aluminium is injected into the water as part of the clarification and flocculation process

Look how high we are!

This is the sludge that they scrape off the water - the result of the flocculation process

Underneath the sludge, this was quite spooky

Look how big this place is. The green wall building is where all the flocculation takes place.

Zapping the water with UV to kill the last of the baddies so it's safe for us to drink

My group for the day - Raupo. Queenstown & Wanaka Primaries. Sitting on the grass before the tour talking about various water issues.

Making water bracelets. You mark off on the bracelet everytime you use water during the day. This really indicates to you how much water you use in a day.

Once we'd finished at Mount Grand we all headed down the road to Arae Te Uru marae and the powhiri. This is a fantastic opportunity for students and teachers to experience this important part of Maori traditions and customs. I must admit it's the most nerve racking part for me. Being the only boy on the team it's my job to deliver the whaikorero, the speech representing all of us during the ceremony.

After we all had lunch, and may I say, well done to everyone for bringing fantastic packaging free lunches. I don't think I saw any Glad Wrap at all, we had some sharing time. During this time I saw one of the best packaging ideas I've ever seen from Warrington school. They have devised a way to make a wrapper for your sandwiches from old plastic carrier bags and some old cloth. Ingenious use of waste products and a fantastic way to avoid using the dreaded Glad Wrap.

We were treated to some amazing kōrero about Otago before we ventured outside to the stream for some action. We split into two groups, one was going to plant and the other was looking at the quality of the stream. There has been a lot of work go into regenerating Kaikorai stream and it is starting to show. They have some fabulous community gardens down there and the place is looking fantastic. Well done everyone!

Kōrero in the whare nui

Learning about planting

Reflection at the end of a very enjoyable and productive day

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