Tanya Jenkins

Environmental Education Programme
Environmental Awareness for Youth

Interviewed by Mary Tratnjek and Kelly Andrew

Tanya Jenkins has her own Environmental Education and Promotion Consultancy and is also secretary for the Environmental Education Support Group. For further information on the Environmental Resource Directory published by the EES Group see the Resource Directory page.

Tanya has a strong belief in the importance of enhancing children's awareness of their environment. Tanya grew up in Holland and when she arrived in New Zealand she was staggered by New Zealanders' lack of appreciation for what she saw as "paradise". Now she finds that by telling stories of her own experiences and introducing children to the nature which surrounds them, even on a very basic level- for example the trees in the school playground, that children are enthusiastic and eager to discover ways of preserving natural resources. Tanya notes that many young children are unaware that New Zealand possesses some of the purest water in the world but when they learn they immediately want to know how they can help conserve it.

Tanya comments that children are often losing contact with the environment in daily lives which are increasingly dominated by television and computers, and she aims to restore a sense of adventure and an informed understanding of nature. She achieves this not by telling children what to do but by conveying her own interest and enjoyment and encouraging their initiative.

Tanya visits Christchurch schools on request with her mobile caravan (sponsored by the Isaac Wildlife Trust). The caravan has a friendly, surprisingly spacious interior and contains a wide range of information on environmental issues in the form of tapes, posters, videos and brochures. Tanya Jenkins' programme is designed to suit lower primary to Form 2 and she spends on average three days at a school giving an hour long presentation to each class which includes a photographic display, slides, videos and a walk outside in the school playground. Tanya emphasises the practical relevance of what she discusses with the children. Trees for Canterbury donate Tanya a tray of native tree seedlings for each school she visits to plant in the schoolgrounds. Discussion and participation on all topics is a main aim of the programme and all students receive a "Fun Work/Activity Booklet" to take home.

Overall Tanya aims to foster the development of a positive attitude to the conservation of our natural environment and believes that by teaching children she is teaching future policy makers.

Topics discussed include:

Fresh Water
Rain Forest
Protected- Endangered species
Pests/Introduced Species
Marine Wildlife
Management of Our Environment
What can I do?

All topics discussed link with the "Essential Learning Areas" as outlined in the NZ Curriculum Framework.

Tanya Jenkins' visits are usually funded by sponsors found by the schools themselves, however if no sponsor can be found a fee is necessary from the school. The programme is supported by Isaac Wildlife Trust and Caltex NZ.

If you would like your school to benefit from this Environmental Education Awareness Programme and have the caravan display come to your school, please contact:

Tanya Jenkins
PO Box 12056

ph/fax: 03 3320099


The Greenager Award

The Greenager Award, sponsored by the 'Body Shop'in association with 'The Press' and the Canterbury Regional Council, is for any young person or group who have made an outstanding contribution towards the enhancement and/or protection of the natural environment. The award is made monthly and anyone can fill in a nomination form stating the potential greenager's name and why they deserve to be recognised as a "Greenager". The Press will photograph the "Greenager" for an article published in the Christchurch Press. An official presentation is make at the school's assembly or the organisation's meeting, whichever is appropriate. The winner receives an engraved award to keep and a framed certificate.

For further information or to obtain a nomination form please contact the NIE department of 'The Press' or contact the co-ordinator Tanya Jenkins at ph/fax 03 3320099.