Monday, July 15, 2024

Christchurch kids get hands-on with waste

Christchurch school students will get hands-on lessons this year on how to minimise their waste thanks to a free Learning Through Action programme run by Christchurch City Council.

The Council’s A Waste of Time programme is aimed at Year 5 to 13 students and focuses on educating them about the city’s recycling processes through a series of engaging and interactive activities.

As part of the programme, which schools can access for free, students visit three of EcoCentral’s recycling facilities – the Eco Sort, Eco Drop and Eco Shop – to learn what happens to the material that is put out for recycling after it is collected at the kerbside.

A partnership between EcoCentral and Red Bus means that in term one participating schools can get free transport to and from the recycling facilities.

“We teach students about how we use the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – to manage our waste stream and we show them how small changes to our habits can have a massive impact on our environment,’’ says Council Parks Programmes and Partnerships Manager Kate Russell.

“It’s a great learning opportunity and students come away with a better understanding of the importance of waste reduction and recovering resources rather than disposing of them to landfill.’’

Other free Learning Through Action programmes offered by the Council focus on sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, geology, water conservation, civil defence and local government.

“With all of the programmes, the goal is to provide students with authentic, hands-on learning opportunities,’’ says Ms Russell.

Students examine stream invertebrates as part of the Fresh Water Frolicking programme.

For example, in the Fresh Water Frolicking programme, students go pond-dipping to identify a range of stream invertebrates and explore the wider food chains and life cycles.

They consider the importance of freshwater biodiversity and investigate the impact of human choices on the sustainability of our eco-systems.

In the Native Nurturing programme, students explore the contrasting landscapes of the Port Hills at Victoria Park. They discover how the unique Port Hills environment has changed over time and take a multi-sensory walk through podocarp forest.

The students get up close and personal with pests to consider their impact on native and endemic species, and they have the opportunity to learn about tracking and trapping methods used by park rangers.

“In the past five years we have worked with around 200 schools in Christchurch, helping them give their students learning experiences outside the classroom,’’ Ms Russell says.

“Last year 7283 students from more than 70 schools participated in our Learning Through Action programmes. That is fewer than in previous years due to the COVID-19 lockdown. In a typical year between 10,000 and 11,000 students benefit from our programmes.’’

Find out more about the Learning Through Action programmes.

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