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Teachers learn to use nature as green classroom

7 days ago

Chad Tareha (Ngāti Pārau), Emma Passey (EIT), Sally Chandler (HBRC), Megan McBride (Cape to City) and Troy Duncan (Trees that Count) shared their ideas about outdoor learning.

On Thursday, fittingly coinciding with World Outdoor Classroom Day, EIT hosted the last of four “Connected to Nature” teacher workshops. Twelve Hawke’s Bay environmental experts shared their ideas on how to use nature as a “green classroom”.

The workshop series with the goal of supporting teachers to lead outdoor learning are a collaboration between Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Cape to City and Enviroschools and has attracted over 80 Hawke’s Bay teachers.

“Outdoor learning in, about, for and from the environment values the experiences learners bring to their learning, across all cultural backgrounds and all levels of ability,” said DOC Education Programmes Coordinator, Robyn McCool.

The workshop “Who’s in my backyard” was held at EIT’s Ōtatāra Outdoor Learning Centre, located beneath the Ōtatāra Pā, overlooking the Hawke’s Bay campus. The site was opened in June and is funded by the Air New Zealand Environment Trust. Schools or community groups are able to book and explore this space and make use of the teaching resources. Project manager Emma Passey can help with any requests, EPassey@eit.ac.nz.

Emma Passey is delighted to see that the new learning centre is attracting schools and community groups. “The purpose of the centre is to provide an inspirational nature based learning area where the cultural and creative connection to the land, sustainable use of resources and the restoration of ecology and biodiversity management can be taught through using the environment.”

A new series of workshops are already being planned for next year. “We would like to offer new experiences to build on the knowledge and skills teachers have gained this year”, said Sally Chandler from HBRC.