Enviroschools job second nature for teacher

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The Waitaki Enviroschools facilitator job seems like a “natural fit” for teacher and nature-lover Bron Claridge.

Over the next few months the Oamaru Mail will be profiling what each of the local education facilities that make up Waitaki’s Enviroschools cluster is up to on its Enviroschools journey, starting with the woman at the helm.

Mrs Claridge has been in the Waitaki District Council-funded job for more than two years now, and the number of local schools and kindergartens taking part has recently increased to 15.

She had always been concerned about the environment, and had a love of the land.

“I’ve always seen the value of growing my own food and knowing where it comes from, and things like that,” she said.

And so she was naturally drawn to the job.

“It seemed like a good use of my skills – being a teacher as well.”

Enviroschools has been running nationwide for about 20 years, through national support from the Toimata Foundation, and adopts five guiding principles: sustainable communities, empowered students, learning for sustainability, respect for diversity, and Maori perspective and holistic reflection.

Mrs Claridge said she loved her job.

“It’s been fantastic building something up in the Waitaki district with so much support from the council.

“Spending time with like-minded, passionate teachers and kids is very motivating. And seeing the reward and benefit the schools get out of becoming an Enviroschool is extremely rewarding.

“All the teachers I work with are amazing and the principals are so supportive of all the ideas and principles behind what being an Enviroschool is all about.”

Being an Enviroschool was not just learning about one area, which was what made it so attractive to schools, Mrs Claridge said.

“You can weave it into maths, English, art .. it’s so broad.

“The schools kind of embrace that whole . . . ‘we’re not doing Enviroschools, but we are an Enviroschool’.

“Enviroschools isn’t something that you go Enviroschools for today, or this week or this month or this year. It’s who they are. So they instinctively think sustainable.”