Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith today launched a new strategy and action plan to better equip New Zealanders, especially children and young people, with the knowledge, skills and motivation to tackle environmental issues.

Mātauranga Whakauka Taio – Environment Education for Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan sets out how government agencies will work together over the next 10 years to better support the delivery of environmental education.

“New Zealanders are increasingly aware of how important it is to preserve and protect our stunning natural environment. This strategy is about boosting that awareness through collaboration, cooperation and practical, hands-on experiences,” Ms Wagner says.

“Knowledge and understanding is the first step, but this is also about inspiring people to take action. We want our children and young people to grow up with the skills and motivation to tackle big environmental issues such as climate change, water quality, biodiversity protection and waste.

“The Government already has a number of ambitious targets in place, including Predator Free 2050 and making 90 per cent of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. This strategy will further contribute to the protection of our natural environment and the creation of a sustainable future,” Dr Smith says.

“National is proud of our heritage in producing the first Environmental Education Strategy, in 1998, but we also recognise that it needed to be strengthened and updated.

“The new strategy puts more focus on hands-on environmental education and links to the science curriculum. It also provides a more inclusive approach, reflecting growth in Taha Maori and will drive better co-ordination between the Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Education and schools.

“The Government provides funding of $1.9 million per year for delivery of the Enviroschools and Te Aho Tu Roa programmes. This covers more than 1000 schools, kura and early childhood centres,” Dr Smith says.

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