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!

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.