Students interacting with the Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee

Encouraging sustainable living

by Mike Isle

In a first for Canterbury, and possibly New Zealand, local school students participated in the proceedings of a water zone committee at the Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee meeting.

Participating schools, Burnham, Ladbrooks, Lincoln Primary, Prebbleton, Rolleston Christian and Springston are Enviroschools, committed to creating a healthy, peaceful and sustainable world via ‘action learning’ — working with, and learning from nature.

“It was great to see so many young people coming together to discuss the important issues of freshwater management and biodiversity,” said Zone Committee chair, Allen Lim.

Enviroschools facilitator Matt Stanford and Lou Drage from Te Ara Kakariki shared their collaborative Kids Discovery Plant-outs initiative, connecting young people with restoration projects and schools discussed their freshwater and biodiversity projects, and issues important to them.

Environment Canterbury programme manager, Caroline Hart, said she applauded the initiative and hoped it could be transferable.

“They are at the heart of effective community participation in decisions affecting water in their areas. It is critical that the youth voice is heard — they are the ones who will carry our plans and aspirations into the future.

“I am sure other zone committees will be looking with great interest at what happened in Selwyn Waihora, and with an eye to the future, they may well be encouraged to promote something similar.”