Unlocking curious minds
Connecting young people to their “local backyard” through outdoor and environmental activities has been one of the key principles behind the educational component of our Karioi Project. A Rocha’s place-based environmental education programs tap into and foster the natural curiosity of young people, assisting them to engage with the diverse ecosystems around Mt Karioi (Raglan). Earlier this year, the high level of interest of our existing educational programs inspired Kristel van Houte (A Rocha co – Director) to develop a new pilot program called “Karioi Rangers”. “Karioi Rangers” will build on the experience and relationships built over the last four years of running the successful “Karioi KIDS” program – but with the aim of taking young people to the “next level” of knowledge and application. Focusing on wai/water, whenua/land and moana/sea, the program will encourage students (aged 7-13) to explore the natural world, developing an understanding of the inter-relationships within ecological contexts, and then applying this learning to actions for a more sustainable future. A special emphasis will also be on connecting our young curious minds with local professionals working in the field of environmental science. Our hope is that we will inspire them to explore future learning and work opportunities as environmental scientists/educators. We’re delighted that we’ve been able to secure funding from World Wildlife Fund NZ, Unlocking Curious Minds Fund (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment) and WEL Energy Trust, which will enable us to run the program for the whole school year!