Enviroschools is one of the largest co-curricular groups at Botany Downs Secondary College. We work in teams. Students choose to join one of the project based teams within Enviroschools as their main area of activity. Many also take part in the activities of other groups.
Kindergarten liason group: working with our neighbouring kindergarten and teaching the children about the environment
Creative: designing and creating art works from recycled materials
Kilkenny Reserve: testing the water in the creek for chemicals and invertebrates, tree planting, monitoring the growth of native trees planted along the creek, conducting the annual garden bird survey, picking up rubbish, pest tracking.
Transport: encouraging the College community to use sustainable transport options and to be safe when travelling
Technology: investigating the use of solar power, running a bee hive
Global: learning about and publicising a major global environmental concern or initiative
Garden: learning to propagate plants for use in and around the College
Wormfarm: turning organic waste into useful worm tea and castings
Recycling: collecting and recycling paper, plastics and cans.
All students also take part in Weedbusting; a flying squad that visits locations in the Botany area infested with Moth Plant, pulls up the plants and disposes of them.
From time to time there may be beach clean ups or tree planting sessions at other local venues.
Each team meets during the college day at some point in the week to plan their activities. However, the actual action will take place after college or at weekends. It is expected that students having signed up to Enviroschools make a commitment and turn up, in the same way that they do for sports fixtures and college productions.
Enviroschools is led by two Year 13 students, Geetanjali Lamba and Omkar Athavale. They are supported by students who lead each team and by several staff members. Communication within the group is through meetings, via the College LMS and a Facebook page.
There are no costs to join!
Enviroschools Gets Off to a Sizzling Start With Mad Students!!
A group of BDSC Enviroschools students spent the Saturday and Sunday of Anniversary weekend sizzling sausages for Harvey Norman as part of the store’s Anniversary Weekend sale. As a result, the store made a contribution to the Enviroschool’s funds. These will be used to construct a composting system and expand our gardens.
Mad Marine Camp
A few days earlier two of our students attended the annual MAD Marine camp on Motutapu Island.
“The sun was shining and it was a perfect day for 40 students to Make A Difference. This summer Laura Twyman and I, Jenny Kim, attended a MAD camp on Motutapu Island to gain more awareness about marine life and the marine environment and to learn how we could make a difference to these.
Throughout the camp we had presentations from many expert speakers, did a beach clean-up and audit of rubbish, did Waicare water testing and some action planning to take back to college.
Although it was a very informative camp we still had time for fun and went snorkeling, kayaking, eel watching and to meet students attending from 24 other Auckland schools.
Run by staff from the Auckland Council, MAD Marine is an amazing three days spent with people who also want to make a difference in the world. Laura and I were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend the camp for a second time and would definitely encourage anyone interested in the marine environment to attend!”
Moth Plant Removal
As part of the Enviroschools Group co-curricular commitment, students are being asked to participate in the removal of the invasive vine called moth plant.
Moth plant is a vine that grows from a wind-blown seed. The vine climbs to the top of hedges, fences and trees to get sun.
It forms flowers in summer, and pollination allows the pod to form and grow. The pod dries out in winter, splits open, then dry seeds float in the breeze like dandelion seeds. Each pod has 300 seeds. Moth plant has pairs of leaves along the stem, with a white irritant sap that can be observed if you pull a leaf off.
Killing a moth plant is best done if you can dig the root out of the ground. The vine dehydrates and dies. Cutting the vine is second best, which stops it that year, but you will have to return next year. New vines grow out of a living stump. If pods are there, they too must be removed, bagged up and sent to landfill burial.
Each location of moth plant is mapped, so a file of where they are can be monitored. The street name and number are useful details to pass on to a Enviroschools teacher or you can join the Facebook group called Society Totally Against Moth Plant for more information.
Pulling out moth plant, or searching for more locations for later removal, is highly recommended. There may be some in your garden perhaps.
Green Jam is a one day event attended by four people from each school in the Auckland Region. Students are usually Enviroschools members. Held on April 5th at Western Springs College, students shared their ideas on how they could improve the Enviroschools group at their school. There were also a range of workshops looking at different ways you can make your Enviroschools more efficient and diversified.
Our four representatives were, Aarushee Kaul, Jenny Kim, Rishika Chopara and Kaho Hsieh. Laura Twyman, BDSC Head Girl, was the MC for the whole event.
We learned about how Western Springs College is recycling its rubbish, plant potting operations at Auckland Zoo and companies that make products from recycled waste.
We found out how other secondary schools in the eastern zone of Auckland operate in terms of their Enviroschools and the different projects that they are working on. In Term Two we will host something called a “Mini Jam” where Enviroschools representatives from all the secondary schools in the eastern suburbs will come to our college and take a look at our Enviroschools projects.
Rubbish Pick Up
Enviroschools students work in groups to improve aspects of our local environment. One of these groups works with the Auckland Council to maintain and improve the Kilkenny Reserve. Students have regular working bees when they pick up rubbish, pull up weeks or plant trees. This year we are also hoping to begin regular water quality testing and bird identification. Later in the year, once our bird ID skills are good enough, we will participate in the annual nationwide garden bird identification survey.
A rubbish pick-up session resulted in several large bags full of rubbish, mainly wrappers and packaging from snack foods.