Our November newsletter
Kia ora <<First Name>>
The end of the school year is fast approaching! This newsletter is jam-packed with innovative ways schools are taking action for sustainability from minimising plastic waste to repurposing materials to create murals for their school. We share student voice of a child's dedication to protecting his local wetland and a Year 1 class committed to keeping their bush trail free of pests. Our Teacher of the Month is inspiring tamariki to learn about sustainability using her school's gardens.

We have a section dedicated to resources and learning opportunities on offer and we profile our Young Leaders Programme that will again be run for secondary school students in 2019.  Enjoy!
Engaging community to minimise waste

Bailey Road School is supporting their community to take action to minimise plastic waste. Teacher, Norma Raman has organised a series of workshops to make reusable bags that parents can use when they shop. She was inspired after attending a central region 'Waste' themed Sustainable Schools cluster meeting.

The first of a series of monthly evening workshops was attended by ten people including a student's dad. A community expert, Malaiah demonstrated how to make the bags with donated fabric. All attendees loved the workshop and will spread the word to others. The school intends to create a collection of bags that can be placed in local supermarkets for their community to utilise. 

Student Voice: Murrays Bay School visit to Awaruku Wetland

"Our environment group Friends of the Long Bay have been working to save our amazing natural environment and the bird life that lives in the Awaruku Wetland. We have been working towards the government goal of predator free NZ by 2050. To achieve this goal we have been trapping local pests such as rats, stoats and possums. We have got two A24 rat and stoat traps which I fundraised for with my school, Murrays Bay School and my local community. Last year I fundraised enough for one and wrote to Goodnature who donated a second one. We do a range of different activities from bird monitoring to planting native trees, pest trapping and rubbish collecting.

We are aiming to bring more children to the Awaruku Wetland and we have planted a butterfly garden with native plants to attract butterflies and give them a breeding spot. We look forward to having a butterfly release before Christmas. I have enjoyed seeing our resident White Faced Heron who we call 'Small Fry' and in the past few months our baby cygnets have grown from the size of your foot to almost full adult size.  

I love spending time in the Wetlands and getting my hands dirty! Last term I helped my class at Murrays Bay School learn about the bird life and how we can protect it. We had a fun trip where my teacher Mr Walker helped me to organise a day where my year 5 class could come and see the beautiful Awaruku Wetland. They did lots of hands on activities like planting, rubbish collecting, looking at traps and learnt lots about the Wetland environment.

Everyone can help by doing something small, collecting a piece of rubbish to trapping in their backyard. Everyone can be an environmental warrior and help save our wildlife.

Thanks to Mary Stewart for all her help with encouraging me and Mr Walker (my teacher) at Murrays Bay School for helping me to share my passion."

Max Wilson, Year 5, Murrays Bay School

Upcycled Blackboard Signs for School Gardens

In a recent Franklin Sustainable Schools cluster meeting teachers had the opportunity to develop some interpretative signage to help explain what was going on in their local environment. The signs were created from old pieces of marine ply that were cut to size and painted with blackboard paint. The teachers then got an opportunity to demonstrate their artistic talents.

It was good to see that the children got involved too - at Waiau Pa School the carrots now have their very own colour-coded sign letting all visitors to the garden know just what is growing and when it should be harvested.

The next cluster meeting for the Franklin region on " Pests" is taking place on 22 November at Pukekohe Hill School. Please RSVP to Christine Kean

Teaching and learning about pests

Year One students from Our Lady Star of the Sea School have committed to keeping East Auckland Pest Free after being inspired by their teacher Dorothy Giam. This is to ensure New Zealand's native trees and birds can continue to live in our gardens.

The children, nicknamed the "Curious Room 1 Pest Catchers," discovered they had a bush trail outside their class and brainstormed what pests might live in their bush. When out exploring the area two boys came across a 'died' hedgehog which was brought back to their classroom. The discovery of the hedgehog triggered many questions and possible explanations, including a tiger attack!

A series of imaginative writing and drawings about the hedgehog were produced. The children needed to learn the sounds of the alphabet to spell and made a huge effort to learn to form letters correctly. From these experiences they were 'hooked' and couldn't wait to go back to find out what other pests live in their bush.

Children have also learnt about chew card technology and made template chew cards. Mice were found to be present. Their attention has now switched to thinking about designing and making pest traps. Auckland Council has provided a rat trap to support their efforts. The "Curious Room 1 Pest Catchers" are committed to keeping their bush trail free of pests.  

Teacher of the Month: Aissha Woodcock

Our November Teacher of the Month is Whaea Aissha (Aissha Woodcock) from Lincoln Heights School in Massey. Aissha is acknowledged for her work supporting tamariki to get excited about teaching and learning in the school's gardens, which has had a positive impact on the environment of her school.

Through weekly senior school rotations involving 130 students from Y5-Y8, she inspires her students through inquiring about sustainability in the school's environment and how the students can make positive changes to what we do. The environment that she has used is six previously unused garden beds that are now thriving.

She has also facilitated learning with the school's tamariki about traditional uses for plants such as Maori and Pacific medicinal plants.

Teno pai Aissha and keep up the great mahi! An ecostore gift pack is on its way to you.

Click here to nominate someone you know

Out and About: Sunnyhills School 

On a tour of Sunnyhills School during a recent teacher workshop we were inspired to see these student designed murals.

The murals are a showcase of what plants can be grown according to the seasons. They have been installed close to the schools extensive gardens. Each mural has a strong visual impact and serves as a great bilingual teaching and learning resource.

How good is your school at recycling? 

Auckland Council has recently been carrying out random checks of schools' recycling bins. They are looking for any signs of contamination – that is, items that are not meant to be in the recycling bin.


It is really important that the waste going for recycling is not contaminated, as if it is there is a chance that it will go to landfill, instead of being recycled.

We will be in touch with schools when bins have been checked to let you know what was found. If you think your school could do better, have a look at some of the tools below to help you. If you have been checked and given a pass well done.

It is really important that we make the most of waste by recycling properly. For further help and information on recycling, go to the following websites:

Sustainability themed resources and learning opportunities
NZ-VR Underwater Virtual Reality Roadshow coming to Auckland in 2019 

The Sir Peter Blake Trust, in partnership with New Zealand Geographic, have developed a new experiential learning programme for students - NZ-VR. This underwater virtual reality experiences showcases the rich biodiversity that exists below the surface of the Hauraki Gulf and connected open spaces, as well as the damage that has occurred, while encouraging students to take action to protect our oceans and waterways. 

The Sir Peter Blake Trust will be launching the NZ-VR programme into schools in 2019. Schools can either register for their travelling educator to visit their school (Auckland and Northland only), or access the content on their own devices, supplemented by their curriculum-linked teaching resources. 

For more information about the travelling roadshow please visit or to view a trailer of the experience on offer click here 

Predator Free NZ Trust resources for schools 

The Predator Free NZ Trust has collaborated with local artist Erin Forsyth to create a stunning A1 poster of our New Zealand native species- Taonga o Aotearoa. 

The poster illustrates the variety of land-based life in the forests and shores of New Zealand, as well as their conservation status. The intention of the poster is to help people understand the urgency of working collaboratively to make New Zealand predator free. The Trust would like to get the poster into every classroom in the country.

On the Trust's website is also a number of curriculum resources for teachers. They have recently released a learning resource for Years 4-8 called 'Discovering issues and taking actions to restore wildlife'. To view their resources click here.

Sustainable Schools will be distributing the poster at our teacher cluster meetings and workshops.

Term 1 2019 calendar coming soon 

Look out in the December edition of our Sustainable Schools newsletter for the 2019 calendar. This calendar will feature all our teacher clusters and events for schools across the Auckland region and other important sustainability dates.

What's coming up ...

Young Leaders Programme 2019

This year Sustainable Schools has developed and run the Young Leaders Programme, a new secondary school youth sustainability programme, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's). There are 17 goals that set out a universal agenda to achieve sustainable development globally, known as Agenda 2030. <link>

In 2018 youth participated in a three day hui based around action for the Manukau Harbour, provided feedback on the Auckland Climate Action Plan and in the September holidays were involved in a workshop linked to Sustainable Development Goal 12: Ensuring Sustainable Consumption and Production at Ecostore. The students were  challenged to develop questions to put to a range of businesses about their sustainability practices and supply chains as well as making t-shirt shopping bags and beeswax wraps.

We will shortly be calling for applications for the 2019 cohort of the programme, which will begin with a three day hui around the Manukau Harbour in the April school holidays. To register interest in programme updates please email us.

Tiakina o Tātou Mōana – Care for our Seas

The New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE) has announced that their flagship event Seaweek will be taking place from Saturday 2 to Sunday 10 March 2019. 

The theme for the 2019 event will be "Tikina o Tātou Mōana- Care for our Seas" which aims to highlight the impact of plastic, litter and other pollutants on our coasts and seas.  

The theme connects with the current push to ban single-use plastics and will act as an opportunity to foster critical thinking about the connections between land and seas and ways our actions and choices can affect the health of the marine environment. Everyone can be an ocean champion, understand everything is connected and everything we do makes a difference. Please visit their website for more information.

Webinar: Using te reo Māori alongside teaching science

The Science Learning Hub is running a free webinar to share ways of incorporating te reo Māori in the science curriculum on 22 November from 4-4.45pm.

Hosted by Professor Rangi Matamua, a lecturer in the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato, and Greta Dromgool from the Science Learning Hub, this webinar will share understandings of why we would as educators want to incorporate the Maori language during the teaching of science and what it might look like.  This webinar is suitable for primary and secondary teachers including both English medium and kura kuapapa. To register for the webinar please click

Our team is here to provide you with sustainability education assistance, tools and resources to support early childhood, kura, wharekura, primary, secondary, and home-schoolers engage in sustainability issues. 
By incorporating sustainability education into school you will grow our future citizens understanding, skills and motivation to develop solutions, act as kaitiaki, and advocate for a healthy environment and society.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you require and advice or 
Kia manahau tō rā
Your Sustainable Schools team
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