Environmental Education

Environmental education is about increasing knowledge and awareness of the environment and some of its associated challenges. Horizons’ education provision aims to excite our young people by helping them to explore and connect with their local environments and empower them to take action to create healthy ecosystems. Our education goal is that behaviours and actions lead to a positive environmental change.

Meet our Educators

We offer a variety of experiential learning opportunities delivered by our educators, on a range of environmental topics such as freshwater, biodiversity and biosecurity (pest animals and plants). Schools and community groups are able to borrow our education kits to complete their own inquiry or action projects. We also provide support and professional development to teachers to develop their skills and confidence, and plan long term projects

We are also the regional coordinators of the Enviroschools programme, which is an environmental action-based programme where young people are empowered to design and lead sustainability projects in their schools, neighbourhoods and country.

There is no direct cost to schools for any of our education sessions. If you are interested in booking a session with Sarah, or you want to chat about what we could do offer, please contact us.
 

Horizons Regional Council Environmental Educator Sarah Williams

Horizons Environmental Educator Sarah Williams

What we can offer

Environmental education tile
Enviroschools tile

Whether you are wanting your students to explore their environment, would like support in developing your curriculum, or as a teacher you want to upskill on environmental topics, we can help.
 

Learn more about the programme, what our Enviroschools do, and how to get involved.

Go to our Enviroschools section

Seedlings

Find out more about what's been happening in the world of environmental education by subscribing to our Seedlings eNewsletter.

This newsletter contains the latest information on events across our Region as well as a selection of handy resources, activities and details of upcoming events.

Contact us to showcase your school, event or story with the environmental education world.

Fill in your details, choose SEEDLINGS from the drop-down menu and click SUBMIT to subscribe.

Environmental education activities

Environmental education is learning ABOUT the environment, completing activities IN the environment and taking action FOR the environment. Much of our education provision is bespoke. Sessions are tailored according to your specific focus, and age of your students.

We recommend that you complete some initial activities about your chosen topics with your students prior to engaging with our educator. Here are some examples of activities we have done in the past, but contact Sarah to discuss your requirements.
 

Freshwater

Enviroscapes® is a water catchment model that explores run-off (or non-point source) pollution, which contributes a great deal to the pollution in our waterways. This class-based resource has a range of activities which help students to identify the types of non-point source, or run off, pollution, coming from both urban and rural areas. Students can also discuss ways to mitigate the pollution to keep our waterways healthy. This activity is a great precursor to conducting a Waiora stream study.
 
Waiora stream study investigates water quality issues, aquatic habitats and the impacts of land management. The programme is available as a facilitated session or you can simply borrow the monitoring kit and carry out your own study. A full teacher’s guide is included in the kit. Although this programme is aimed at senior primary to intermediate, we can bespoke it to any age group.
 
Kura Kaitiaki Water Conservation is our water conservation resource which aims to raise awareness about our fresh water as a finite resource and a precious taonga. It explores the issues associated with using tap water and covers the concepts of water conservation. This is a must have resource for teachers keen to explore water. Download an e-copy, or contact us to request a hard copy. For those in Whanganui, there is an additional resource available that looks at how water gets to your taps and what water treatment process it has gone through.

Enviroscapes session at Parkland School

Learning about water clarity as part of the Waiora Stream Study programme.

Kura Kaitiaki Water Conservation resources.

Biosecurity (pest animals and plants)

Pests animals are hugely damaging to our native flora and fauna. Not only do they eat both young and adult animals, they compete for the same food sources, whether these are invertebrates, plants or trees. With the introduction of an ambitious plan to rid New Zealand of our most damaging introduced predators by 2050, we encourage schools to explore this topic with your students.

If you are keen to further your inquiry, we offer outdoor activities looking at animal tracking and trapping. For example, finding out what pests are living in the school grounds or at home using their footprints and their teeth marks. More information on these activities are available here.

Finally, if your school is interested in backyard trapping to remove pests from your school grounds, then we will be able to advise on the best methods and, if available, lend you traps.

Pest plants or weeds threaten our unique biodiversity. There are more pest plants growing in the wild in New Zealand than native plant species. They threaten the long-term survival of some of our native animals by changing or destroying their habitat.

School students learning about pest animal trapping.

Biodiversity

Exploring what lives in your local native bush or your school grounds is a great way to inspire and excite your students.

We are able to offer presentations, activities and field trips on a range of biodiversity themes such as invertebrates, trees, fungi and birds, across primary and secondary levels.

There may also be opportunities for your students to participate in native planting projects.

Learning about biodiversity on school grounds.

Environmental Education Kits to borrow

We are excited to announce that we now have a range of environmental education kits that are available for schools to borrow on a longer term loan to run their own activities.
 
These kits allow students and teachers to connect more with their natural world in an easily accessible and achievable way. They are available for loan for between 1-2 terms and are useful for those classes looking in particular for a more in depth inquiry or action project.
 
We currently have available the following kits to borrow (Click on the links to take you to our Lending Agreements)


To enquire about booking a kit, please fill out this form and one of our educators will be in touch.

You can download an Environmental Education Risk Analysis (RAMS) Form here.
 

Here are a few examples of how schools have borrowed our kits for longer term inquiries and projects:
Our educators recently visited Halcombe School to run pest animal sessions with senior students and the importance of right trap for the right pest. The students then set out tracking tunnels and chew cards around the school to identify what pests they might have. They found a range of foot prints from mice, rats, a possible stoat and possum. We lent them some different traps, and after some training on how to set and bait them, we left the students to continue their own project on catching pests in their school grounds. So far they have caught three massive rats and a number of mice. If at the end of the lending period, a school wants to continue with their trapping project we can help them look to funding their own traps.

Manchester Street School have set up their own Waiora group who are working on a long term water monitoring project on the Mangakino (Makino) Stream in Feilding. Students have borrowed a stream kit to monitor the health of the stream and tracking the changes over time to gain a better understanding of the impact our waterways face.

To support teachers in getting the best use out of these kits, and to show you they can be used for long term projects, we will be running train the teacher workshops. If you are interested in attending one of these, or if you would like further information please email education@horizons.govt.nz
 
We are looking to add more options to the kits so watch this space