Environmental Education at Fiordland College
The College is one of the most ideally placed institutions in New Zealand for Environmental education. Fiordland College takes pride in its place at the edge of the Fiordland National Park and in the significant role it plays in its local community. School leaders and teachers make good use of the school’s location to help provide a wide range of opportunities for students to engage in their learning and in the wider life of the school. Such learning experiences include outdoor pursuits, sports, and other education opportunities outside the classroom with a clear focus on the environment. These shared interests and pursuits build the sense of belonging that is evident in the school. The interest many students show in taking an active responsibility for the wider environment is a key factor in many curriculum developments.
The Enviroschools Foundation is a charitable trust providing support and direction for a nationwide environmental education programme. The Foundation has partnerships with the Ministry of Education, the Department of Conservation, and regional councils. Enviroschools were first set up in the 1990s and there are now Regional Environmental Education Officers to support ‘the creation of sustainable schools’. The Enviroschools Foundation has the vision ‘to foster a generation of innovative and motivated young people who instinctively think and act sustainably’.
Fiordland College became an Enviroschool in 2008 and gained Bronze status in 2012 and Silver status in 2014. We hope to attain Green/Gold status by the end of 2016.
To become an Enviroschool the following criteria need to be met:
- Environmental education should be included in the school charter.
- Environmental education should be taught at all levels in the school.
- Waste minimisation programmes should be implemented.
- Energy and water saving strategies should be in place.
- Planting/habitat enhancement programmes should be implemented.
- Regular environmental audits should be conducted.
- Special events such as Conservation Week should receive school wide recognition.
- Students should participate in community activities such as Weedbusters.
- A student environmental group should be supported.
- Environmentally friendly products should be used throughout the school.
- An environment committee should be set up comprising the Principal, a member of the Board of Trustees, students, teachers and the school caretaker.
For more information see the Enviroschools website http://www.enviroschools.org.nz/
Kids Restore the Kepler
One of the school's strategic goals is to become a centre of environmental excellence. We are a key partner in the "Kids Restore the Kepler Project". This ambitious project, run in conjunction with the Fiordland Conservation Trust, seeks to eradicate pests from the area bounded by the Kepler Track in order to restore indigenous species to the region. These include takahe, kiwi and kakapo.
The Fiordland College environment group ReGen was revived in 2010. The group’s members meet weekly and decide on projects that can be completed to help the college meet the goals of Enviroschools. One current project is assessing paper recycling and waste collection within the school and developing a strategy for improving this. The staff have initiated food waste recycling using a bokashi bucket in the staff room.
Centre for Environmental Excellence
As a centre of environmental excellence we see ourselves as a destination for visitors who want to learn more about our environmental education projects. These visitors may be international visitors calling in for an hour or two, or school groups on outdoor education trips requiring a base for learning about the area before experiencing our great outdoors.