During a meeting with Green Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, Ralph Adler and Zella Dowling, Mount Aspiring College students have been learning about and exploring how MAC could be come a climate friendly college.



What is MAC already doing? What can we do better?

Saving energy

Team Green has done in the past and can resume the Switch off campaign (Make it flick stickers and posters) and the monthly Earth Hour (Period 6 Last Friday of each month).

To go further… do we actually need to turn on again after? Do we need it? This is a key phrase, in general!

At MAC, the biggest energy problem for the environment is our coal plant. We could lobby to get it changed. Write a letter to Board of Trustees, Mr Bosley, Architects, Ministry for the Environment.

And we have 8 solar panels. We want more! Continue fundraising. Ask in the letter.


Make a transport survey. Is it cool to bike? Is it cool to walk? The reward is in itself, health, cool… A hand survey in the year 9 group showed that many students already walk, bike or take the bus to school. Surely more can be done.

For the school’s trip, asking for electric vehicles. Our vehicles are second hand after local ski resorts. Asking them for electric vehicles!


Encourage compartment lunchboxes, more sandwich wraps, these are opportunities for fundraisers. Resume the bring your cup deal at the canteen.


Team Green has installed paper recycling and recycling in the college, because it diverts lots from landfill (cheaper), because we earn trees from paper and cardboard recycling via Paper4Trees.

We yearly check it is functioning and campaign for its good use.

Improvement: Explain why? “Do I need it” campaign? Encourage electronics use. Good on one side bins. Double-sided printing by default.

“Think before you print sticker” to add at the bottom of emails

Canteen: Do they have leftovers?

School compost, also for lawn clipping.

Measure How important How much $$ How Easy Action
Lights Less important because 80% of energy is renewable Save $$ Easy Switch campaign, switch stickers
Travel to School It would be important but a lot of people already bike so maybe quite good Nothing to school – Save money for families Each individual decision – lots of communication Survey

Calculate how much petrol this uses

Find out who else has done survey already

Travel by School Quite important Will become cheaper but big initial cost Not easy Petition to Cardrona and Treble Cone so they have electric buses

(Also ask for gondola for climate change)

Coal burner Very Important Big Letter to BOT to ask for renewables energy and better insulation
Heat Pumps Less important because 80% of energy is renewable Saves money Easy Switch campaign, switch stickers



Food wrappers

Quite important Not much money Not easy!

Showing them


We want compost and garden: lawn clippings, leaves, food scraps, canteen waste, food tech waste, a bit of wood ashes

Present Team Green members vote to focus on collecting food waste to a compost and perhaps make a garden for food for the canteen. We need to get the caretaker and canteen support.

To avoid having much work with the garden, we can still do compost and sell it (fundraiser!). In Dunedin, a school has a matching system who wants it who doesn’t want it.

So working on collecting food waste and establishing a compost will be Team Green focus in term 2.

Jeanette's board


Jeanette Fitzsimons at MAC

Ex-Green party co-leader, Mrs Fitzsimons came to Wanaka to talk about phasing out coal and oil during Aspiring Conversations. To make her travel worthwhile, she offered to meet students to take her important message further.

Organised by the college Academic committee, Year 9 students met 4 experts on Energy, Transport, Food and Waste, the four key contributors to climate change.

We are already in climate change, Jeanette says. Since 1992, conferences have happened to try and fix the climate, but regularly fail to set timeframes, targets and finances to make a difference. People wait for governments to acts but governments need people’s mandate to act! People can do small changes at their levels, but for a significant shift, middle level action is best. That is community groups, schools, businesses…

Working together is most effective. Our school can create a climate action plan, starting where emissions come from, mostly:

Energy – Transport- Food – Waste

Energy problems: coal burner -BIG contributor, electricity in NZ 20% is not renewable. Can do better with solar and wood.

Transport: Coming to school and school trips are to be treated separately.

Food: Where it comes from, how it is packaged. Where it is disposed? If we have much food waste in our lunchbox, maybe we need less food. Ask yourself Do I need it?

Waste: Jo from Wastebusters has noticed there is a LOT of paper in our recycling. Is it because we work really hard?! Or because we print before we thinK?

Year 9 students then spread in 4 groups to deepen their issue of interest and bounce ideas. Approx 40 students were interested in energy issues, 30 in food, 12 in waste and 8 in transport. 

Sustainability at MAC: 12 years ago

In 2006 at MAC, a “Sustainability theme week” was organised for all Year 7 to 11. A range of activities was offered for students to choose from. Here is the 2006 MAC Newsletter reporting on Sustainable Week.


There were lots of hands on workshops including: Flax weaving, Knitting and Recycled card making;

There was a visit to Wastebusters, followed by a college Waste Audit;

A visit to the local Biodynamic winery Rippon was followed by creating a Worm farm for our staff room;

A bus was organised to a local conservation area to explore Plants and Biodiversity, learn about pests of the area, with a bush walk in the afternoon. Followed by a day to identify and count plants around the school, label them, plant some Olearia hectorii;

A House tour was organised to look at local eco houses and discuss energy conservation, then students looked at the energy consumption of the school and make signs to make people aware to conserve energy;

There was a Talk on Marine Reserves followed by a fishing outing;

There was an Intro to alternative fuel, showing of the Cool Fuel Video, demonstration of a Hybrid car and making biodiesel;

Student could choose to cook with local and “sustainable” ingredient, and calculate food kilometers;

There was a Debate on the environmental issues in our area;

There was video making, a children’s book made with amazing art, lots of posters…

The last day was a celebration and showcase of posters, an eco-living funny play, a recycled orchestra concert, a wearable art fashion show…

Everyone had great fun and talked about it years later!

Brebner Bay Outlet

Last visit of the year to “our adopted outlet” as part as the Touchstone programme

We discuss that this drain is the stormwater runoff for a vast area, including zones currently in construction. We watch the drain water and observe how it contains silt that deposit in the bay. It also carries patches of white foam that will not disappear, a sign of detergent discharges.

And right in front of the drain, kids are having a bath. We also see dogs wandering, likely depositing dog poo near the water, hence fecal bacteria in the water.

What could we do to improve the situation?

We observe there is quite a large area around the drain. So instead of bringing all this runoff  water directly into the lake, the pipe could pour into a wetland that would naturally clean the water before it reaches the lake. Designing this wetland area will be our project for next year.

Monthly Earth Hour

Earth Hour poster

Every last Friday of the month during period 5 is MAC Earth Hour.
Please make sure to turn off the lights and unnecessary equipment. We will go around the classes to remind you!
We have watched the college energy counter slow down during Earth Hour and calculated that we save $20 each time. The money saved goes towards more solar panels.
More solar panels, more savings…
And it helps the planet too!

Canteen Deal

Look what Team Green has negotiated with the very kind Canteen ladies!

Canteen deal Soup

It’s a win for you (cheaper), a win for the environment (no-throw-away cup), a win for the canteen (less cups to buy). Enjoy!

Recycling Art Competition

Art_Competition_bannerTeam Green is organising the 2016 Recycling Art Competition at Mount Aspiring College.

Each whanau is invited to submit an artwork made out of rubbish or recycled materials. Judges will consider artistic, technique and sustainability value of the creations.

Entries are due on Tuesday 20th September 2016. It is a house competition so get in there and meet the criterias! Good luck!

Celebrate Earth Hour

 On Saturday 19 March from 8.30 to 9.30pm

Earth Hour belongs to you. Celebrate your commitment to the planet with your friendsfamilycommunity or at work – in your own way. A simple event can be just turning off all non-essential lights from 8.30pm-9:30 pm.

This is our time to #ChangeClimateChange!