Sunday, 10 December 2017

One of our keen enviro members noticed that we had a problem with fruit fly in our worm farm/compost area and also with children putting incorrect foods into the bins. As a result a small group of children got together to research and action a possible solution to both of these problems.  They discovered possible reasons why we have fruit fly and formed a plan to see if they could prevent this problem. They have added shredded paper that has been soaked in water and removed any food items that were not breaking down quickly. We hope this works!

They are now working on improving the signage for our food scraps so that the younger children are able to see clearly where they should go and they plan to go around each class to remind them of where their food scraps go and why it is important to do this.
Good job team!

We have also enjoyed eating the first produce of the summer from our tunnel house- delicious cucumbers!
Super crunchy and tasty!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Spring Happenings!

Although we haven't posted in a while we have still been hard at work.    
We have finally finished our new potting table and sink area thanks to Di and her hardworking family! A huge thanks also  to the West family who managed to source a stainless steel sink for us.  They have already been so handy as we planted seeds for our garden!

We have been quietly working away in our gardens to do all those busy Spring jobs of propagating seedlings, digging over soils, mulching, planting, weeding  and of course the daily watering to keep things growing.  
Our rain water collection tanks are already in good use as the warm weather sets in.  Now we need some rain to fill them up again!

Recently we had a visit from Lesley Ottey who kindly brought  9 heritage fruit trees that had been grown by a community group for us.  We have added these to our school orchard and are looking forward to enjoying their fruits in the future.  
Lesley gave us good advice about how we could help them grow with watering and mulching tips.  Armed with this knowledge the Year 5 and 6 children worked hard to build some self watering devices using old buckets that Di managed to find for us so.  We carefully cleaned the buckets and with the help of Reg found a drill bit small enough to create a hole for the water to slowly drip out of.  We then placed mulch around the bases to stop it from evaporating too quickly. 
Lachlan discovered that a couple of these buckets were blocked on the second day and came up with a solution of putting the lids back on them to stop mulch getting inside them . Jono then suggested we may need to add a whole to the top so it depressurises!  We have some great problem solvers at Ashley School. 

We also want to add some artwork to these buckets, but have discovered that the paint doesn't like sticking to the plastic.  We will keep thinking of a solution!  

Next year we would love some more members of our community to join us in our enviro journey.  If you are interested in helping  please pop in and have a chat with us!

Lesley Shares her Fantastic Messages

Lesley always gives us lots of fantastic ideas on how we can all help our environment and reduce rubbish!  

Today she shared with us a local initiative by a cafe to get rid of  unnecessary plastic straws by using re-useable metal straws. Plastic straws cannot be recycled and have been found causing terrible harm to animal life. You may have seen the picture that circulated the internet recently of the turtle who ended up having one pulled from its nose .   

Her simple message to us was next time we order a drink we could make a difference by simply saying "No straw please".

Lesley also showed us some great options for creating funky re-useable shopping bags so that we stop using plastic bags.
Check out this cool one made from a t-shirt from the Op shop!  Look out for one of Lesley's workshops on how to make these in the school holidays.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Great New Zealand Garden Bird Survey

On Monday a group of children from RAKAU , with the help of Mrs O and Toni from Enviro schools, took part in the annual New Zealand garden bird survey. We do this survey in winter as it is the time of year when some of our native forest birds may come into our gardens looking for food and shelter. 

Scientists want to find out about our bird populations as birds not only give enjoyment for many people in their everyday lives but it also tells us about the health of the environment we live in. They can't do the survey alone as it require lots of people throughout New Zealand to help them build up a picture of our birdlife.

This survey takes place between Saturday 24th June - Sunday 2nd July 2017 throughout the whole of New Zealand. The more people who take part in the survey the better understanding we will have of our birdlife in New Zealand. 

If you are interested in completing the survey follow this link

Creating an organic solution!

As we embarked on a winter clean up of our vegetable garden last week we discovered that some little creatures had been nibbling on our silver beet so we decided to see if we could find a natural way of getting rid of our problem.  A group of our keen enviro gardeners got to work researching a way to make a natural spray.  

This is the recipe they found: 

Place 1 peeled onion, 2 peeled garlic cloves and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a blender.  Add 3 cups of water and blend until smooth.

Let the mixture sit overnight.  Strain the liquid into a spray bottle.  Coat plants generously.  

We look forward to seeing if this works.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


A group of keen gardeners came out in the lovely sunshine today to help plant some new plants.  

We planted our new grape vine that was given to us as gift for hosting the enviro schools tour.  
We hope that we will be able to train it to climb along the fence and look forward to tasting some yummy grapes in the future!
James helped plant a current bush that was gifted to us by our visitors from the West Coast Enviro Schools.  We look forward to making current juice in the future!

Riley carefully planted another plant in our butterfly garden that will hopefully attract both more butterflies and bees to our butterfly garden. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Keep on Reducing

Last week we had Lesley and Toni from Enviro schools come to our school to conduct our annual waste audit.  We have been collecting this data now for 7 years.  It is pleasing to see that over this time we have made significant progress over this time thanks to our efforts to recycle paper and cardboard, and the use of our compost bins and worm farms for organic waste.  This is not only beneficial for our environment but has also saved the school significant costs when disposing of waste!  

Our biggest wastes continue to be soft plastics.  We are looking at ways we could do soft plastic recycling. If you would like to help us with this then we would love to hear from you.  This would involve taking the soft plastics once collected to one of the collection points at the local supermarkets in Rangiora.  

 We checked our worm farm out and found lots of healthy worms.  
We  also discovered we needed to add some lime to our compost to stop the fruit fly.

As part of our efforts to reduce waste at Ashley school the Year 5 and 6 children would like to attempt sewing some reusable lunch wrappers over the next 2 terms.  
To help us we would love some donations of cotton fabric, cotton and velcro tape
We are hoping that parents or grandparents may have leftover material from projects that could be utilised as the fabric pieces only need to be about 40-50 cm squares.
Also if you are a keen sewer who would like to help teach us to sew we would love to hear from you too!  Please see Mrs O’Loughlin if you are able to help.

Watch out soon for some work on our native gardens. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

A huge thank you to Di, Jane, Bianca and Natalie for helping our children to create these amazing scarecrows from recycled goods for our school garden.  Also a big thank you to Ken who revived the rocking chair for Granny scarecrow and to Reg who did an amazing job of creating a fence  using some timber from old school seats.  What a lucky school we are to have your support!

On Thursday we were host to over 45 children, parents and teachers from Enviroschools across the Selwyn and the Waimakariri districts.  This was a wonderful opportunity for our children to share what we have been doing at Ashley School. It was a great chance to reflect on  our enviro vision and all of our achievements over the last year.  We are so proud of how much we have achieved with the support of our fantastic school community.  
It was also great to see some of the delicious things we can turn our produce from the garden into.  A massive thank you to Sarah, Di and Natalie who helped make this all possible!