Cultivating eco warriors
There’s an eco-warrior movement afoot at Randwick School in Lower Hutt.
Principal Simonne Goodall says it’s a big part of what makes Randwick School special.
“We talk a lot about eco-warriors here. All our classes are set up to recycle paper and plastic, and to compost. We have a team of eco-warriors checking each class every week, awarding points and then the winners are announced at assembly.”
The school actively encourage projects that fit with the eco-warrior ethos. And that’s where funding from Hutt Mana Charitable Trust comes into play.
In 2019 the Trust provided $3,000 towards the eco-warrior movement specifically for the Garden to Table programme and for the planting of native trees.
“It’s all part of eco awareness at school. We’re a very multicultural school in a lower socio-economic area so we aim to provide our kids with as many opportunities as we can.”
Garden to Table
Simonne says the Garden to Table project is about trying to encourage healthy eating in the children while at the same time teaching an understanding of how to produce their own food.
“We are trying to encourage the children to set up their own gardens at home while we teach them about nutrition, balanced diet, and the importance of eating fruit and veg.”
The funding from the Hutt Mana Charitable Trust has enabled the school to extend the programme so that three classes of 9-12-year-olds can take part.
“We employ a garden co-ordinator and the classroom teacher is the kitchen co-ordinator. At any one-time half the class is in with the gardening co-ordinator who is teaching the kids about plants, seeds, composting sustainably and worm farms. The other half of the class is in the kitchen using the produce from the garden to make lunch. At the end of the lesson they all come together and share the lunch.”
Simonne says the much-needed funds go towards paying for the coordinator, the garden tools, kitchen appliances and the weekly ingredients to supplement the lunches.
“There’s a lot of cost involved, and we can’t fund that ourselves. It’s been a big advantage being able to access the funding from the Trust and means we can have more than one class joining in on the programme.”
Native tree planting
The Trust funding has also been used for the student driven initiative to plant native trees at the school, says Simonne.
“We had two classes that went to Zealandia and learnt a lot about native plants, sustainability and regenerating trees and they wanted to take some action. At the same time a group of senior boys wanted more trees for shade, so between them both they’ve planted 50 native trees and bushes around the bike track and in a separate area to create more shade.”
Simone says the funding from the Trust has been significant and has helped create many spin-offs for the children.
“Our students are learning a lot of life skills and all about the concept of service – they’re doing things for their school and for their community, and that’s really quite special.”