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!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Watch this space...

A talented group of clever Mums and Dads have taken on the project of creating scarecrows with our children for our garden using recycled products.  They are really starting to look cool. The children have really enjoyed seeing how they  can create amazing things from recycled goods- much of which was heading for landfill! They have picked up some sewing and building skills along the way too!  We can't wait to see them in the garden soon!

In the garden...

Over the last month we have been extremely busy in our school garden.  We have had  lots of jobs to do in the garden over the hot summer months and also now as we are approaching the cooler autumn months .  A team of keen gardeners regularly come out during their lunchtimes to water, weed and harvest our produce.    The more we are out in the garden , the more children we see  getting involved who want to be a part of it all!  
During Summer we were very thankful for the rainwater tanks as these were vital when our area went on water restrictions. This meant we could keep our garden going during our long hot summer.  It also reminded us all how precious our water is and how we need to look after it carefully.   

Recently we have  had lots of fun planting flowers and making bird feeders.  We want to attract more nature, especially birdlife to our school so we can observe them and bees so they can pollinate our plants.  We also thought that as it gets colder it will get harder for birds to find food!  

Delicious Corn from the Garden

On Monday we helped Mrs O harvest  some of the corn from our garden, in the rain.  We looked for the biggest ones first and carefully picked them.
We came up with a few  ideas about how we could cook them. This included corn fritters, but we decided that corn on the cob would be the easiest and just as delicious!  So on Tuesday we took the husks off the corn and broke them into smaller pieces so we could share them with lots of people! We boiled them in a big pot with the help of Tracey.

They were delicious with just little bit of butter! We love eating from our school garden!  We can't wait to do it again!

Tristan, James and Riley.

Worms and Compost

We noticed that some of our children have been a little unsure about where their food scraps should go so we have been busy making some labelled containers to help the children at our school learn the correct places where our food scraps should go.  
These are now kept by the recycling station and one set by Korimako. We shared these at Assembly and with each class. We hope it will make a difference to our food waste.

In the worm farm we can put things like apple cores,  banana peel , tea bags and most vegetable scraps.  They don’t like anything acidic like oranges, pineapple or tomatoes. They also don't like bread, meat or dairy products.

In the compost we can put the orange peels and pineapple skin that the worms don't like.  

We definitely can’t put any plastic, glad wrap, chip packets or snap lock bags in these. These would hurt the worms and won’t grow very tasty plants!

We think that we should really try hard not to waste food either. Most of our food should be going in our tummies or be taken home if we don't eat it.

Friday, 6 January 2017

 Our Enviro Schools Vision Statement

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 different environments around the school. 

We have been making a vision map about what we want to do within the school to make it more sustainable. Do you have any ideas of what you would like to see happen in the school to make it more sustainable?
We have got a lot of our own ideas and have put them on a vision map.  The is a visual representation of of the ideas we have created as a school.  Please  check out our vision map  and our journey so far next time you are at school. It is displayed in our school hall.

You will have also noticed that our REACH pencils have been completed and now stand proudly in front of the school office.  They look amazing an will remind us of the REACH values that  we strive for at Ashley School.  A huge thank you to the Youngman family for all your help with these.  

Rakau held a very successful Market day at the end of Term 4 to help fundraise for some of the enviro projects that they have planned. There were lots of recycled goods as well as fun games, food, crafts and plants at the market.  Thank you for all of your help and support leading up to the market and of course on the day.  

Well done Korimako on completing your visual mihi for our fence around the septic area. They make the area much more colourful and exciting.  Thank you.  

The bus created by Harakeke is proving one of the most popular pieces of play equipment  at school at the moment!  The tyre sculpture is starting to take shape too!  Watch here for an update!

This year has been a very busy and exciting one for Ashley School .  We thank everyone for your help and support at we continue our journey as an Enviro school. We are looking forward to getting stuck into some more projects in the the new year.