Local students learn environmental sustainability

by Lucy Carver

Our Environmental Sustainability students were instrumental to a local planting project in the Moutere Catchment. Students were involved in designing, planning, planting and sourcing seedlings that were grown in the Whenua Iti Community Nursery.

A  group of Year 12 and 13 students from Tasman and Marlborough have recently graduated from Whenua Iti Outdoors’ Environmental Sustainability Programme. The programme is run yearly and students undertake four weekly sessions on-site, Monday-Thursday, at Whenua Iti Outdoors.

This year’s students have been working on conservation projects with local community and environment groups, DOC, and at Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park where they removed 600 wilding pines. The programme also considers personal sustainability like picking out weeds that can be eaten from the community garden at Golden Bay Sustainable Living Centre.

One of the highlights has been a trapping and planting project on a property in the Moutere Catchment. The students designed a new trapline to catch rats, stoats, ferrets and weasels at Phillip and Jenny Leith’s property. Phillip and Jenny belong to the Moutere Catchment Group which was recently awarded Cawthron Institute’s 2024 Freshwater Champion.

After consultation with Phillip and Jenny, the students were given ‘free rein’ to import a new trapline and also plan and design the planting project, selecting suitable native species for the location. 600 eco-sourced native species were planted.

What Harriet Arnott, from Motueka High School, liked about the programme was, “The practical experience that you don’t get in the classroom or on a tablet,” she says, “There’re so many different ways of learning which are fun too.”

Fern Leenhouwers , also from Motueka High School, has enjoyed the new relationships she has made, “It has been good to meet up with like-minded people.” Eva Cross, from Nelson Girls College, agrees and says she found it good talking with people who have a career that they are passionate about and a career that makes a difference.

Whenua Iti Outdoors in conjunction with Top of the South (TOTSTA) and West Coast (WCTA) Trades Academies deliver a range of programmes for Year 11-13 students. These are funded by the Ministry of Education and contribute to students’ NCEA.

Rosey Joyce, one of the three programme tutors, says, “The programme enables students to see different avenues for conservation whether it be at home, volunteering or the multiple career choices. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can still make a difference.”

“And importantly”, she adds, “It’s empowering for the students to see how much they can do and what they are capable of.”

Environmental Sustainability students planting in the Moutere catchment

Learn more about the range of free Trades Academy courses on offer at Whenua Iti Outdoors here.

Want to find out more about a programme or have a question for us? Talk to one of our friendly team - we're happy to help.