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Passion for the community . . . The Sustainability Project co-ordinator Melissa Pronk is excited about this year's summer skills school. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

The Sustainable Skills Summer School is back – but not as you might know it.

Building on the Natural Heritage Society’s programme, which ran from 2010 to 2018, it has been renamed The Sustainability Project in anticipation of developing a year-round education programme.

One person who is particularly excited about the changes, and this year’s programme, is Oamaru woman Melissa Pronk, The Sustainability Project co-ordinator.

This is her third year in the role, having taken over in 2016 when she moved to Oamaru and became a member of the Natural Heritage Society.

At the time, she was looking for something that would connect her to the community.

Before joining, Ms Pronk admitted she did not evenknow how to grow her own vegetable garden.

“[But] I happily joined,” she said.

When the society found out she was an event manager by trade, she was invited to co-ordinate the school.

“It’s inspiring because pretty much every class in there I want to learn about myself,” she said.

“We seem to have a core group of tutors that come on board every year.”

When the society disbanded last year, there were fears the school would share the same fate, Ms Pronk said.

“There’s been so much groundwork put into it, it [would’ve been] a shame to let it go,” she said.

“So many people love it – they look forward it every year.”

Luckily, the Waitaki Community Gardens picked up the school and saved it.

Ms Pronk said co-ordinating the school meant she got to help the community out in her own way.

“I think that it’s positive – people ask about it and look forward to it,” she said.

“It makes me feel good to be a part of something positive in the community.

“I’ve just found it inspiring.”

The Sustainability Project starts today and runs until February 3. Classes include bread-making, raw food, cheese, yoga, meditation, beekeeping, essential oils, gardening, furniture design, pottery, website building and performing arts.

For more information on the programme, visit www.thesustainabilityproject.co.nz.