It was a beautiful day in Auckland as we kicked off Eye on Nature School Days 2023. Primary school students from all over South & East Auckland arrived at the Auckland Botanic Gardens, ready for a day filled with fun, learning, and adventure.
"The activities were awesome," exclaimed one student. "Thank you guys for helping us and asking us to come to your gardens and for letting us play the activities." Another student shared, "I thank you for teaching us what's the right and wrong things to compost."
The workshops were all designed to teach the students about conservation, sustainability, and the environment. From learning about the local awa (rivers) to discovering how bananas turn into compost, the activities were both educational and fun.
The students had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of workshops facilitated by many amazing organisations, including the Whitebait Connection, West Auckland Waste Resources Centre, and Watercare.
At the Papaya Stories workshop, students embarked on a futuristic audio-guided tour of the gardens with two space travellers called Bozo and Rida. "My favorite part was when Bozo and Rida put futuristic headphones on us and they were talking to us in our minds about nature!" said one student.
Along the way, they met water, trees, and kereru through their headsets and discovered puzzle boxes. The travellers taught them about waste reduction for a sustainable future and prompted them to draw their own visions for the future on a whiteboard!
Throughout the day, the students' energy and enthusiasm were truly inspiring. "I had an awesome experience! I learnt how to plant, make summer rolls, and what FBI stands for. I also learnt how to compost and so much more! The summer roll we made was delectable!" shared one student. They were fully engaged in the activities and had a great time learning about the environment as they took on many activities in the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
Community Educator Sterling Ruwhiu says the event partners were thrilled with the positive feedback from teachers and students alike. "The enthusiasm and energy was contagious. We need to thank our partners and volunteers for helping create overwhelmingly positive feedback. Teachers have praised the workshops as high-quality learning experiences."
As the day came to an end, the students left with big smiles on their faces and a newfound appreciation for the environment. "Thank you so much for today," said one student. "I can't wait to come back next year!" We want to thank all the schools, event holders, the six local boards and organisations that made Eye on Nature School Days 2023 a huge success. We can't wait to do it all again next year!