Friday, 18 May 2018

Lesley Inspires Us Again

Last week, Lesley Ottey worked with children around the school to help us increase our pool of knowledge on what to do with our food and paper waste at Ashley School so that we can improve our systems and make them sustainable for the future.  

In Korimako, the children learned more about how worm farms work and how to look after the worms at Ashley School.  They learned about what worms like to eat and what they don't.  They also created their very own mini worm farms to look after!

A team of keen enviro children from Korimako with the help of a parent are going to take the lead in making sure our worms are well looked after!  They will be making sure we put the right kinds of food scraps into the worm Bins.  

In Harakeke, the children enjoyed the challenge of creating paper bricks using paper from our BOB's bins and old newspaper with Lesley.  They learned how to turn this paper into something useful.... they are waiting patiently as they dry, ready to be used to help light the fire in winter!  We have a group of keen parents who are willing to help children make these more often!  

Image result for bokashiIn Rakau Lesley shared with the Year 6 to 8 children how Bokashi bins can be used for food scraps.  We were keen to build up our knowledge to see if we think that this would be something that we would like to trial again at our school.   
We liked that we would be able to put all food waste in this system including meats and dairy product
s  and that it doesn't have a smell. 
In our class hui we had a vote and agreed that we thought it would be worth a trial in the senior school to begin with.  Carter and Caden have volunteered to set this up and monitor how it is going. We look forward to seeing some positive results! 

The Year Five children learned about how compost works.  We explored out existing compost bins and found that they are actually doing a pretty good job.  We even have some that is ready to go on our garden in spring when we are ready to plant.

We learned that making compost is a bit like making lasagne.We need to keep layering... a layer of  shredded newspaper/ cardboard , then a layer of Nitrogen rich materials ( grass clippings, weeds, coffee grounds, vegetables scraps, rotted manure, garden debris) and finally a layer of Carbon Rich Materials ( dry leaves, sawdust, corn stalks, pine needles, straw.)
We look forward to some more fantastic compost for our gardens to help them grow soon!  Sustainable Living!

Thank you Lesley for helping us build up our knowledge and understanding!  

Thursday, 10 May 2018

A Native Garden

Now that it is Autumn, a good time for planting, the Green Team has worked together to bring about one of the ideas that Ella, a Year 7 student, had asked to be included in our EnviroVision Map early last year -  to create a native garden that used plants representing the classrooms around the school.    

We had been  looking after some lovely plants that we had donated from Trees For Canterbury  in our plant nursery until it was a good time for planting and we knew where we really wanted the garden to go.  

Initially we had thought that we would plant a garden along the back fence around the old school house but due to a new fence being put up and some issues with very wet ground we came up with a new plan.  In the end we decided  to create this garden in front of our school hall as we thought it would be a nice way to welcome visitors  and enter our school meeting place.  
We are now busy educating everyone about using the footpaths rather than short cuts through the gardens! This is part of our new Ashley School Care Code : 
We have fun and use our environment but look after it with respect- We walk around gardens rather than over  them.

We now have the important job of making sure we water and weed our new gardens so that our plants grow healthy and strong. We hope that our new native garden will help attract some more korimako (bellbirds) into our school environment!

The enviro team are now inspired and want to work on adding some further plantings and also tidying up some more gardens around the school.  

Well done Green Team, you are a wonderful group of children to work with!

Our Friendship Pole

During Term One, a small group of Rakau students decided that our Friendship Pole needed some attention as it was looking rather tired. They set to work to plan how they would do this and come up with ideas of what it might look like.  They really wanted it to reflect the concept of friendship and caring for others in our school. 

On Wednesday we were lucky enough to have Sarah (Clover and Trixie’s Mum),come and help them with the action phase. It was great to see lots of children involved during lunchtime with the painting of handprints on our pole. It includes tamariki from every class and most of the staff's handprints as well.
Words that support our REACH values were added to help remind us of the values we aspire to at Ashley School.
Great job Sarah, Lachlan, Ryia, Clover, Eden and Jorja-Rose who helped this wonderful project to happen at our school. It is certainly a bright and colourful addition to our environment and most importantly about bringing our school community together. Kapai!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Developing the Ashley School Care Code.

As part of being an Enviro School we are developing a Care Code for our School. This is a guide to how we will treat our environment and an important step in making our practices sustainable.

"The Green Team" worked with Toni from Enviro Schools on Thursday  to look at the process for developing the code.  We looked at  some examples from other Enviro Schools and how they have shared these with their school community

In small groups we then worked together to brainstorm our ideas for what we thought we needed in our Care Code for Ashley School. We tried to think about how we will treat plants and living creatures, how we will use our environment as a fun learning space, what we will do with our rubbish as well as how we will save energy, water and share environmental ideas with others.

Our next step is to share our ideas with the rest of the school to get their ideas too and to think about how we might display these so that everyone in our school community knows about them.  
We will share with you our draft ideas soon!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Super Scarecrows ,Scrumptious Carrots and Saving Power!

Wow what a busy Wednesday afternoon we had this week as we headed into the action phases of several of the enviro projects in Year 5 and 6.  

A group of children had been investigating how we could use the carrots in our garden.  They came up with the idea of making carrot cake and healthy raw carrot sticks.  They researched recipes and then had to think carefully about which recipe would  be best for us to use.  They harvested, cleaned and prepared the carrots for cooking.  We are very grateful to Sarah who brought along her expert knowledge and cooking skills to help them in the kitchen on Wednesday afternoon to make delicious carrot muffins for all the children in Year 5/6 to enjoy.  With Sarah's expertise they also learned how to prepare and make a yummy carrot salad. 

As we reflected on our school environment, several children in the Enviro group suggested that is was time we updated our scarecrows for the garden as they were looking rather tired.
A huge thank you to Zoe's Grandad who helped source some cool new clothes and to the group of children who worked so hard with Tanya and Tracey to make our Scarecrows look fantastic again!  

We are still on the lookout for  a couple of pairs of colourful shoes, gumboots and gloves to complete there new looks if anyone has some to donate!

We also planted some new flowers around them to add some colour during winter as we wanted them to be even brighter!


Well done to Zac who has also taken on the mission to encourage us to save power at Ashley School. He has created these signs to place around the school to  remind us to switch the lights off when we don't need them.  
He is also looking at ways to spot check if we are doing this!  I can't wait to see what he comes up with!


Friday, 16 March 2018


We want our school to be welcoming and to look bright and colourful.
We want our school to be litter free.
We want our gardens to be well cared for with lots of crops and fruit to share.
We want our learning to be done  in a happy way in all the environments around the school.

The start of the year is always good chance to reflect on what we have done and look ahead to what we would like to do as an Enviro school. As we looked at our vision map we realised we have completed lots of things but also have lots we still would like to achieve.    

Our garden has  certainly been well cared for with lots of crops and fruit to share this year.  We have had abundant crops of tomatoes, basil,  cucumbers, corn, capsicums, zucchini, carrots and potatoes.  The children in RAKAU came up with a plan to turn some of our produce into pickles, relish and jam which we could sell as a fundraiser for next year's camp.  This got us very busy in the kitchen learning lots about how to prepare the vegetables, follow recipes and also the importance of sterilising our jars.  We have also learned how we can store what we grow for future use!  

Children have also enjoyed cooking delicious roast potatoes and eating yummy corn on the cob, fresh cherry tomatoes and cool cucumber!  We know that we are eating food that is good for us !

If you or you know of someone who would like to help us out in our vege patch for an hour or two a week we would love to hear from you.  The kids adore opportunities to work in this area of the school!

We now have a much bigger storage tank for our rainwater collection.  A huge thanks to Ms Meehan who donated the large white tank and to Reg who has connected it!  This will be amazing next summer when it dries out again!
We have  started planning for a native garden that represents our classroom names to go at the entrance to the hall.  Reg has begun trimming some of the existing trees.  We now need to prepare the soil ready for planting soon!
The enviro group are also wanting to freshen up our school scarecrows over the next few weeks.  If you are keen to help that would be wonderful!


At the end of February a small group of children from the envirogroup had the opportunity to join students and staff from other Enviroschools in Canterbury  to attend an overnight student leaders camp at Tutehurewa Marae in Port Levy. It was a great chance for children to develop their understanding of the unique cultural history of the area and to experience a pƍwhiri and stay on a marae . They explored how people are making sustainable changes to improve our environment, including the regeneration of native forests and food gardens. A massive thank you to Sophie for supporting our students on this trip!

Ella went as far as to say " That is my favourite camp I have ever done!
The photos certainly show that they had an amazing time.


The Zero Waste Lunchbox group have been collecting data over the last  few weeks from each class. Whilst there are small improvements in the number of children bringing zero waste lunches we still have a long way to go with it sitting at around 60% of all children bring zero waste lunches. 
We plan to have a Nude food Day in the near future to raise awareness of the packaging in our lunch boxes. Nude FooD is simply food that is not wrapped in foil, plastic or commercial packaging.  Promoting Nude Food helps  students to to think about their impact on the environment .  There are lots of helpful hints about how we can do this on this website:


The Year 5 and 6 children have also  been researching a range of  projects that support our vision.  There are groups who are: 

  • creating bird feeders to encourage more birds.
  • creating a plan for our friendship pole to make our environment brighter and more colourful.
  • investigating ways to encourage us to save power.
  • investigating ways we can use produce from our garden.
  • looking at ways to  move towards our goal of Zero Waste lunches.
  • developing a bug hotel so that we can explore different animal life and habitats.
  • creating a new butterfly garden where we can explore life cycles in our environment
  • looking at  the ethics of which chocolate we should use to make our hot chocolates.
I can't wait to see them begin their action phases!