Environmental Education Resource Directory Launch

  • Marie Hasler
Cultural Affairs

Green Ribbon Award Winner Announcement Archibald Centre, Wellington Zoo

Welcome to all our special guests today.

Thank you for sharing with us this special occasion through which we are marking World Environment Day 1999 on
Saturday.

The launch of the Environmental Education Resource Directory is an important milestone in the implementation of our
environmental education strategy, Learning to Care for Our Environment.

We are here to launch the Environmental Education Resource Directory, which is one of the priorities for action identified in
the strategy.

Today is also an opportunity to recognise some special New Zealanders.

They are being honoured as the 1999 winners of the Green Ribbon Awards, presented each year to recognise outstanding
contributions to protect and improve our environment.

I am delighted to say environmental education is one strong reason for some of those people and organisations to be
honoured today. The winners are:

David Craig, Waiuku, for his outstanding contribution to sustainable land management on his own property and
environmental education through community groups.

Mr Craig, a farmer and landowner, is a foundation member of the Awhitu Landcare Group.

He willingly provides advice and help for other new Landcare Groups, as well as demonstrating on his own land practical
ways for farmers to care for the natural environment.

His projects have included designing and building an environmentally friendly effluent system for his cowshed, fencing and
re-establishing four large wetlands to provide habitats for birds, and fencing-off and planting along streams, areas of native
bush and fragile coastal land which is prone to erosion.

All development on his property is done with consideration for the sacred hill Puketapu, a Maori historical pa site important
to Ngati Te Ata.

Our second winner is the -

Kids Edible Gardens project, Christchurch, for environmental education in primary schools.

The Kids Edible Gardens project was started in 1997 by a group of volunteer parents, teachers and gardeners.

The project set out to teach children about growing plants organically, building healthy soils, turning waste into compost as
part of a school recycling scheme, and controlling pests by natural means.

And, of course, being able to eat what they grow is always a fun part of the process for the children.

This bright idea has been taken up by 20 Christchurch schools, which are supported by volunteers from many community
groups, local businesses and health agencies.

Schools all over the country are now showing interest.

The third winner this year is also about a garden, but one starting in a very different way:

Palmer & Son Limited, Dunedin, for its outstanding efforts in rehabilitating a worked-out quarry site in the North East
Valley.

Palmer & Son was nominated by the Institute of Quarrying as an example which other companies could strive to follow.

The Institute is conscious that the industry does not have a good record for rehabilitating worked-out sites, and hopes other
companies will now take up the challenge of covering the scars left after quarrying operations.

The North East Valley Quarry stopped operating in 1980 after about 100 years of operation.

Since then, Palmer & Son has poured 200 cubic metres of soil and 500 tonnes of a soil-compost mix into planting beds
constructed on the old quarry benches.

More than 20,000 trees and shrubs have been planted in these raised beds, and walking tracks have been developed among
the maturing trees.

The conversion of this site from a derelict quarry to an attractive garden is an ongoing commitment for the company, which
takes great pride in what has been achieved.

While congratulating these three winners of the award, I must also say how difficult it was to choose among some
outstanding organisations and activities.

I would, therefore, like to highly commend three other nominees for the award:
Water Services Unit, Christchurch City Council, which regards environmental education as an important part of its role in caring for the city's waterways

The Waikato Environmental Business Network, which works to educate businesses about ways they can reduce their impact on our environment

Resene Paints Limited, which now has 70% of its paint range certified with the official Environmental Choice ecolabel.

Congratulations to you all.

Environmental education is a strong theme in our celebration of World Environment Day this year, including the Green
Ribbon Awards.

And environmental education, of course, is the reason we are here today.

Learning to Care for Our Environment was adopted by the Government as its environmental education strategy in July 1997;
recognising that we all have a part to play in sustaining the environment.

Environmental education is not just a priority for school children - it must be a lifetime commitment for us all.

The Strategy embraces a range of learning activities that inform people about the environment and how it can be protected.

The Strategy emphasises the need for partnerships between sectors, for better coordination among those involved in
environmental education and for making better use of limited resources.

Priority areas, where central government considered the main effort of environmental education activities should go in the
next three to five years, have been identified. These cover aspects such as:

- encouraging integration and coordination of environmental education activities
- evaluating environmental education programmes
- enhancing the capacity of tangata whenua to fulfil their responsibilities as kaitiaki
- incorporating the aims of environmental education in the school curriculum
- promoting environmental education in business, and
- giving people and communities the information needed to make environmentally sound decisions.

The Strategy identifies a number of actions that central government will undertake to implement these priorities.

The Ministry for the Environment has been working to action this, through for example, setting up an environmental
education co-ordinating group and a Maori focus group.

These groups act as forums for considering environmental education activities and help encourage integration of activities.

The Environmental Education Resource Directory which we are launching today is another important step in integration and
sharing information.

The Directory, which will be available both in print and through a special website, has been compiled by a team comprising
EnviroCommunications, Connell Wagner, and Linda Chronis.

Their work was fully funded by the Government's Sustainable Management Fund.

Offering contact information for a range of environmental education resources, the directory can be accessed by teachers,
council environmental education officers, environmental organisations, and others who are interested in finding contacts and
materials relevant to their work.

The directory covers topics such as land, air and water, wastes, coasts, biodiversity, plant and animal pests, heritage and
Maori interests.

It can direct you towards resources such as activity packs, computer resources, posters, video and audio tapes, places to
visit and a wide range of written material.

Unfortunately, we won't be able to give you your very own copy of the directory to take away just yet.

The printed directory is in the final stages of production, and last minute touches are being made to the website, so they will
be ready for you by the end of this month.

Today, I also want to take the opportunity to make a further mention of the role of the Government's Sustainable Management
Fund in financing this directory.

For nearly four years, the Fund has been supporting practical projects to improve environmental management in New
Zealand.

These are generally ideas from councils, iwi, community groups, business organisations or research institutions which need
some finance to get off the ground.

SMF projects must have national benefit, they must involve stakeholders, and they must be wanted by the community.

Since it was established in July 1995, the Fund has allocated more than $50 million to around 220 projects. In most cases,
those who carry out the project also provide some of the funding.

Already the Sustainable Management Fund has yielded a formidable range of tools such as environmental resource kits,
guidelines, reports, training programmes, databases and decision support programmes.

Some of the products are on display here today.

All the information developed by the funded projects is available free to anyone wanting to use the knowledge. I know
councils, community groups, iwi and businesses, and people like yourselves have found this information helpful.

Environmental education is one of the priority areas which the fund seeks to support. For example, the Fund has supported:

Life's a Beach - a coastal management kit for schools developed by Environment Bay of Plenty

The Water Expo educational programme developed by the Water Services Unit of Christchurch City Council

The Habitat Enhancement and Landcare Project developed by Environment Waikato to help secondary schools work with local businesses and community groups on land and water management.

The Fund is also supporting a current project to help environmental education officers in local government and other
community organisations to develop and evaluate their own environmental education strategies.

A strategy such as Learning to Care for Our Environment is only as good as its implementation.

The practical projects, such as the Environmental Education Resource Directory and website which we are launching today,
will give life and strength to the strategy and act as a driving force in protecting and managing our environment.