The squad of 11 Year 8-12 students was formed in April 2015 to develop an environmental project to reduce waste and protect Aitutaki’s land and lagoon by promoting the “3Rs” – reduce, reuse recycle.
The Aitutaki Conservation Trust (ACT) and Araura College are working in partnership to support the Enviro Squad in introducing environmentally friendly waste management practices in the school. The goal is to become the Cook Islands first Enviro School, a status that is recognised in New Zealand and will hopefully also be recognised here before too long.
The squad has already made significant changes within the school, ensuring rubbish is no longer burnt, trash is recycled appropriately, food scraps are separated and fed to pigs and a worm farm is in progress for composting.
With help from college principal Tracy Spiers and ACT member Clare Condon, the Enviro Squad has developed a waste management model that could potentially be applied to other schools throughout the Cook Islands.
Student empowerment, ownership and the sustainability of the project in the long term are key to its success.
The group of young environmentalists has already achieved a number of milestones on the island, including setting up a recycling station and covering over the landfill to stop unnecessary burning.
The students have also planted a vegetable garden to encourage their peers to grow their own produce.
If you would like to follow the enviro journey head to their Facebook Page ‘Araura College EnviroSquad’.