Community park rangers went back to school recently – or you could say the schools came to them.
Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa became an environmental classroom as Eye on Nature hosted schools from across the city, with parks and gardens staff joining the Beautification Trust to deliver the programme.
Almost 40 schools visited over the three days of the event, more than 1000 students filling 143 sessions about waste, sustainability and the environment.
Trust community educator Sterling Ruwhiu says the event partners were thrilled.
“The enthusiasm and energy was contagious. We need to thank our partners and volunteers for helping create overwhelmingly positive feedback. Teachers have praised the workshops as high-quality learning experiences.”
The six southern local boards, Papakura, Franklin, Howick, Ōtara-Papatoetoe, Māngere-Ōtahuhu and Manurewa fund Eye on Nature.
Manurewa board chair Glenn Murphy says the Beautification Trust goes from strength to strength. “The trust has grown to provide a dedicated recycling service at Holmes Road, it harnesses skills at its Boomer Shed, does planting and community clean-ups, and through Eye on Nature, helps create a generation of environmental champions.”
Howick chair Damian Light says his board’s involvement goes back many years. “If we can play a part in teaching children to care for their environment, we will have achieved something. It’s about creating young people who care.”
Ōtara-Papatoetoe chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia agrees, saying the event is a great learning opportunity. “Most of our city’s children grow up in an urban setting. Giving them the chance to understand their place in a wider environment is important.”
And at Māngere-Ōtahuhu, chair Tauanu’u Nanai Nick Bakulich says children thrive through hands-on learning. “Eye on Nature, and places like Ambury Farm here in Māngere, give children the chance to understand nature is all around them, something they are a part of.”