Okaihau College has an active student Envirogroup who have raised funds for a range of projects including edible gardens, Tui flax garden, hanging baskets. Teachers are including unit studies on environmental topics in subjects as diverse as film studies, art and technology with students working on garden sculpture, biodiversity, coastal erosion and recycling. Class groups have assisted with restoration work around Lake Omapere.
A Sensory Garden Learning Environment
Okaihau College was awarded $1500.00 through its Northland Regional Council 2011 Environmental Curriculum Award to complete the Sensory Garden at the back of Rangimarie. This garden is for the benefit of the Special Needs students
A Sensory Garden is a garden specifically created to be accessible and enjoyable to visitors, both disabled and non-disabled. The purpose of such a garden is to provide individual and combined sensory opportunities for the user that they may not normally experience.
The design and layout provides a stimulating journey through the senses, heightening awareness and bringing a positive learning experience. Students are encouraged to look, smell, touch, taste and listen through interactive and manipulative play.
NRC Environment Award
Okaihau College was awarded a Northland Regional Council 2012 Environmental Curriculum Award (ECA) recently for Sensory Garden (2012) Environmental Education project!
Northland Regional Councillor Joe Carr presented the award and a $1400 cheque (GST exclusive) to students at a special Thursday 16 August celebration assembly at school. The money will go towards creating an improved access pathway to link the school’s sensory garden used by special needs students with the rest of the school grounds. It would also be used to replenish the sensory garden. Sixty-five students aged 11 to 17 in years seven to 13 are involved.
Okaihau College has now won six Northland Regional Council Environmental Curriculum Awards worth $6701.68 since 1996 – Sensory Garden (2012) $1400, Sensory Garden (2011) $1150, Whakarongorua herb garden and Te Waharoa o Okaihau ( 2009) $1422.36, Herb Boxes and Flax Garden (2008) $1050, Quiet Area Garden Design ; (2007) $679.32 and Water Quality Testing (1996) $1000.
The annual $20,000 Northland Regional Council Environmental Curriculum Award started in 1995 and aims to foster Environmental Education excellence with schools eligible for up to $2000 each for their efforts to educate children ‘in, about and for’ the environment.
Okaihau College is one of five ECA-winning schools based in the Far North; Horeke School ($1500), Okaihau College ($1400), Okaihau Primary School ($900), Opua School ($1400) and Te Tii School ($350).
Okaihau College’s 2012 winning success will soon be profiled on the Northland Regional Council website’s Environmental Curriculum Award page. Check out www.nrc.govt.nz/eca from mid-September.