Our Wellington

News | 10 May 2021

Kids get close to nature with Enviroschools

More than 250 pupils from Wellington schools recently gathered in the stunning space at Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush to connect with nature and deepen their scientific skills.

Tim Park talking to a crowd of tamariki about science on a bank at Otari-Wilton's Bush.
Finn Michalak, from the Ōtari -Wilton’s Bush team, educating tamariki about the plants on site.

The Ōtari Enviroschools student event happens once a year and recently took place over two days, with four classes attending each day, and seven different schools participating.

 

This year, Enviroschools facilitators collaborated with the Open Science Lab, the team at Ōtari-Wilton's Bush, and Children's Garden educators to provide four different 40-minute activities for the students to rotate through.

 

Enviroschools is a nationwide programme for early childhood centres and schools. Pupils explore the environment, then plan, design and take action in their local places in collaboration with their communities.

The focus is on creating a healthy, peaceful, sustainable world through learning and collaboration.

Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā educator, Marion Saunders (and her predecessor Anneke Mace), have been working with Enviroschools and Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush teams over the past four years to run the events that help students learn about the environment.

“These events are super popular with schools and showcase the awesome work Wellington City Council does to help with environmental education.”

A class of children with their hands on an ancient Rimu tree at Otaril-Wilton's Bush.
Tamariki get their hands on an ancient rimu tree.

Marion says there were a bunch of activities put on at Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush – including microscopic investigation of leaf litter, seed collection and propagation, stream observation and testing, storytelling, rongoā, and walks to the old rimu trees – which all kept the students fully engaged throughout the day.

 

“Collaboration makes this event the success that it is – having everyone operating within their skillset and sharing their experience and passion with the tamariki.

 

“Feedback from the schools has affirmed that schools really value this engagement each year and the teachers commented that it was amazing to see the students eagerly occupied all day long. And the educators were impressed with the powers of observation the students showed.”

 

Teachers have also been widely positive in their feedback, with comments such as: “It’s an amazing trip each year which inspires the tamariki to delve into nature and share learnings with our wider community, school and whānau”.

 

Another teacher said the kids thoroughly enjoyed “being in the bush, walking up to the rimu and discussing the other trees on the way. They loved the work in the nursery too! Kids loved looking at things under the microscopes".