Environmental Education – Ensuring future advocates for the environment

DOC Hawke’s Bay is working alongside ECOED in a partnership formed under the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project, to provide enhanced Environmental Education opportunities for Hawke’s Bay Schools. Recently, DOC Education Programme Coordinator Robyn McCool led a hands-on biodiversity study with Pukehou School’s year 7 and 8 class to complement other environmental learning activities during their three day camp. Despite the wet weather, the class had an amazing experience at the Lake Opouahi site, which encompasses the ECOED Wilderness Education Base and Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche. The students have since been able to build on their environmental learning back in the classroom. Their first hand experiences with the long finned eels of Lake Opouahi have added relevance to their current involvement in the term-long Freshwater Education Programme, facilitated by DOC Hawke’s Bay in partnership with HBRC, Fish and Game Council and the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

ECOED has welcomed 6 classes from Parkvale School throughout this term to participate in their Kiwi Health Checks at the Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche. Robyn McCool and DOC Ranger Daniel Winchester followed this up with a presentation at the school with the aim of enhancing the learning opportunities afforded by these visits. Their topics of kiwi conservation and predator control generated plenty of enthusiasm and students were especially fascinated by the “stuffed” predators and the traps.

DOC and ECOED have been working with Putorino School principal Nikki Irwin to organise a Ngati Kahungungu Cultural Standards Day at the Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche for Putorino, Mohaka, Putere and Kotemaori Schools. This exciting, hands-on environmental learning day for Year 0-8 students will incorporate a Kiwi Health Check, a Walk and Talk to discover all about eels and the trapping of predator species and a bush walk entitled “The Bush; Our Taonga”, exploring some practical uses and cultural values of native plants. Originally planned for June 10th; we’re crossing our fingers that the weather will cooperate for our postponement date of June 17th.

Under the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne Education work stream, ECOED have engaged DOC Education Programme Coordinator Robyn McCool to work alongside them in developing a guideline for teachers, to link ECOED’s resources and wider related concepts to NZ curriculum and Education for Sustainability objectives. Through this guideline, ECOED aims to enable teachers who want to use the Wilderness Education Base and Pan Pac Kiwi Crèche facilities to develop their own Environmental Education programmes in creative ways that reflect ECOED’s overall educational philosophies. This collaborative project is a great example of the benefits created through positive partnerships: people helping people to educate even more people – in and for the environment!

 If you would like to know more or become involved, contact Robyn McCool on 834 4850 or Wendy at ECOED on 877 1213.

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