Salisbury School is a Green-Gold Enviroschool. We were awarded this in 2010 and were the first special needs, first secondary and first residential school in New Zealand to gain this status.
Salisbury School's Enviroschool Journey
We continue to evolve our school vision – progress is celebrated and new ideas are added. The Guiding Principles are woven into all aspects of school life: Sustainable Communities, Maori Perspectives, Empowered Students, Learning for Sustainability and Respect for Diversity.
Environmental sustainability is part of all decisions and part of everything we do. We make decisions and take actions together. Students get opportunities to lead with support from adults. We have been able to measure many changes from our actions and show that we are making a difference.
The school is involved in our community. We are actively engaged in making positive change together. Maori perspectives enrich our journey.
We honour the diversity of the people in our community. We are creating changes in thinking and behaviour. This includes changes in our ecology, our livelihoods and lifestyles.
In August 2015 Salisbury had its 'Beyond Green/ Gold Review' and the Enviroschools Regional Coordinator for Tasman stated that:
"The highlight of the review was the student presentations. The respect for diversity and culture was represented with a dance demonstration from a multi-cultural student, which inspired the Chaplin to join her and share her Cook Island dance with us all. Two students sang us a song that explained their personal journey of being seen as non-mainstream and then staff and students shared a koru sculpture of their support for each other through song, which was heart-warming. The confidence of the student presentations was a testament to the achievement of the Guiding Principles and continued whole school approach support of students used by staff."
Since 2006 students have given their time to help with the restoration and protection of Mangarakau Swamp. This is a wetland of national significance on the West Coast of the South Island. Students are involved with weeding, planting and occasionally helping to check predator traps. They have made Weta Motels that provide homes for tree and cave weta with the occasional leaf vein slug and gecko also taking up residence.
Students are helped to make decisions by having a role in planning their own learning and creating their own designs and are able to reflect on their learning, look at how they did things and what, if anything, they could have done better.
Student led projects have involved the creation of an area of original lowland native bush at Salisbury with the help of funding from WWF with a boardwalk leading to a lizard sanctuary funded by Kids Restore NZ. We have information panels designed by students and weta motels made by them as part of a class project. In the bush we have a back country hut which a class designed and built as part of a national eco-hut challenge.
In 2009 Salisbury won the New Zealand Plant Conservation of the Year Award for Schools and we have been the recipients of numerous awards for our environmental work over many years.
Students are involved with Arbor Day community planting in the area, Keep New Zealand Clean beach clean-ups, and restoration work on a local urban stream.
Curriculum based activities in the classroom and projects such as these help students to acquire knowledge about a range of sustainability issues and how they relate to their own lives. They help to teach them skills in planning and decision making, cooperative working skills and for some, leadership skills.
We believe that as stated in the Enviroschools ‘handbook’ “Children are our future…. Teach them and let them lead the way and in turn let them teach others to respect, nurture and preserve our environment”.
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