Since 2003, when Bayswater School became an Enviroschool, there has always been a dedicated enviro-group. Their unique perspectives are valued for the knowledge and insight they bring. The enviro-groups have played an active role in the Enviroschool award processes at Bayswater School. In 2007, when Bayswater School achieved their Silver Enviroschool award, the group at the time, with the support of a facilitator from Nau Mai ki Enviroschools, led the collection of student voices, which was collated and became the Bayswater’s School Çare Code. The Year 6 class of that year, created the beautiful artwork around the statements, which has remained a feature in the foyer ever since. Ten years on the enviro-group of 2017, along with their peers, the staff, whānau, board of trustees and connected community members participated in a reflection process to reconfirm our school’s Green Gold status. Over the years the enviro-group has led tours within the school to show our journey and sustainability practices. The tours have included overseas teachers, visiting enviroschools, enviroschool facilitators, and fellow pupils. One of the guiding principles behind being a Green-Gold Enviroschool is the involvement in learning about sustainability. The enviro-group strives to maintain the initiatives that have been put in place as a result of the whole school learning focus.
Measuring Change and Taking Action
The enviro-group has a strong connection to the environment and sustainability is part of their decisions and everything they do. During the process of progressing from Bronze, to Silver and onto becoming a Green Gold Enviroschool, the enviro-group has been instrumental in implementing some of the imbedded initiatives including: Energy efficient practices in the classrooms Rubbish free lunch boxes Reusing paper good on one side (GOOS paper) Worm farms This ongoing monitoring and encouragement to raise awareness of the impact on the environment, is credited to the sharing of knowledge and encouragement of enviro-groups over the years. Enviro-groups have participated in waste and energy audits, have recognised the impact on the school environment and have taken action to implement change. An example of this growth is the change from an early initiative ‘Rubbish Free Wednesday’s’ to being rubbish free every day of the school week. On a weekly basis members of the team monitor classes’ energy use and rubbish free lunch boxes, the results of which are reported at Friday morning assemblies.
The Year 5/6 enviro-group members have had the opportunity to do Wai Care at Achilles Reserve with the Auckland Council supported by a former Bayswater parent whose own children were active members of the enviro-group. Wai care monitoring began in 2003, the year that Bayswater School began their environmental journey. This was inspired by the learning focus called 'Wai Care for the next generation?’. The enviro-group linked with students from Lynnfield college to embed the science behind stream monitoring. A few years later the school inquiry ‘Wai Care for the future?’ boosted the whole school’s understanding and interest in stream monitoring at the time. The participating enviro-group students became known as the ‘Stream Angels’. Not only have they monitored the quality of the water of Achilles stream, but they also done riparian planting next to the stream.
The Enviro-Group’s historical connection to The Globe Programme and the Genesis School-gen Programme
In 2008, the enviro -group at the time linked with The Globe Programme, an international monitoring programme which enabled the Enviro-group to enter our weather information via the school’s weather station, which was sent to NASA at the time. Although Bayswater School is no longer connected to The Globe Programme, the weather station provides an opportunity for interested children to collect data over time which enables them to observe seasonal changes. When the School-gen programme was led by Maggie Twaddle, a former local principle, the enviro- group’s energy monitors were very involved in tours and learning about energy efficiency in collaboration with other local schools. As part of the requirement for receiving the School-gen ‘Bronze Super Award’ in 2014, the energy monitors were responsible for submitting an annual energy report to demonstrate that as a school, we were being energy efficient. A sub-group at the time also analysed the data from the weather station and discussed how seasonal changes impacted on the efficiency of the solar panels. In 2018 a group of enviro leaders featured in an article called ‘Power from the Sun’ Junior Journal number 57, Curriculum level 2 Here the children shared what they had learnt about solar power.
Water Sensitive Design Programme
In 2018 the enviro-group participated in the Water Sensitive Design Programme where they learnt from environmental scientists about the importance of conserving water and the science and technology behind the different ways water can be collected. The group problem solved the pros and cons of where to put the water barrels and led the installation ceremony.
The Enviro-Group’s Involvement in Planting
Enviro-group members with the support of an adult plant new trees and shrubs earned from the ‘Paper for Trees Programme’. Recently, the school’s planting of Te Korowai o Papatūānuku in 2019, under the guidance of Lance Cablk Programme Coordinator of Restoring Takarunga Hauraki, has been supported by the enviro- group to tag the trees and create clay signs.
At the prize giving ceremony a senior member of the enviro-group is awarded the Education for Sustainability Cup for sustained and outstanding commitment to supporting Bayswater’s enviroschool kaupapa. The Education for Sustainability badge is also awarded and placed on the Sir Peter Blake memorial board, naming students who have participated in a special project or made a commitment to our environmental practices.
Present and Future
The Bayswater School enviro-group continues to support Bayswater School as an Enviroschool, its sustainable practices now and into the future. Although there have been changes with community connections over time, the Bayswater enviro-group has maintained its dedication to follow the Enviroschool’s kaupapa.