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Fernridge School gets Green-Gold standard

Mila Waitere, eight, Vivian Maguire, nine, Arlo Andrewartha, nine, and Logan Mackenzie, 10, selling their produce. PHOTOS/TOM TAYLOR

Masterton’s Fernridge School became the region’s sixth Green-Gold Enviroschool last Friday.

The new status was an improvement on the green-silver level they held for the past five years and an indication of Fernridge’s emphasis on creating a nurturing environment for pupils.

Gill Stewart from Enviroschools said her organisation’s mission was to create a healthy, peaceful, and sustainable world through learning together.

The Fernridge School kapa haka group performing at the Enviroschools presentation.

Fernridge School principal Janine Devenport said the Enviroschools kaupapa tied in with her school’s vision to be a school that nurtured curiosity.

“Our students ask questions of themselves, others, and the world around them.”

Devenport said she had witnessed the empowerment of Fernridge’s pupils in the past five years as they pushed themselves to gain green-gold status.

“I felt super proud this morning when three ex-students came and talked about how much they’d seen and grown.”

Stewart would normally present the school with a golden totara to plant but said it was the wrong time of year. Instead, she gave teacher Paula Sala a gift voucher so the school could buy their own.

“We call it [the status] Totara Green-Gold, because it’s all about being a strong tree within the community,” Stewart said.

Brax McAdams with the tree his family planted.

“It’s about being a model, sharing, collecting water, growing gardens, and nurturing people.”

Fernridge School demonstrated these qualities through an open afternoon for families.

After the presentation, pupils raced towards the school field to use the three-week-old bicycle track.

Families planted trees in the new gardens around the track, writing their family names on stakes provided.

Other pupils chose to man ‘Fern Fresh’, a stall selling plants grown on site.

“I have such a busy day,” said stall manager Arlo Andrewartha, nine. “I have to do everything today: glee club, kapa haka…”

Stewart said at green-silver level, pupils would be starting to lead the action with regards to the environment they learn in, whereas a green-bronze level would indicate a school at the start of the journey.

At green-gold level, pupils would take complete control of their environment.

With pupils planting trees, selling beetroot, riding bicycles, or relaxing in the pupil-designed outdoor classroom, Fernridge School has well and truly earned that status.

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