Making waste minimisation education fun is rewarding

3/09/2018 5:00 p.m.

When a preschool teacher once asked, 'do cucumbers grow underground?', Lesley Ottey recognised the need to offer students education, help and support around rethinking waste. She launched Sow and Grow (later rebranded to Eco Educate) to fill this gap by providing fun and engaging workshops focused on inspiring behaviour change across all age groups. Several years later, her team's tremendous passion and dedication was recognised by Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC) at a sold-out gala evening on Friday, 31 August.​Eco Educate received the Environmental Step Change Award, sponsored by Environment Canterbury at ENC's 2018 North Canterbury Business Awards. The event is held every two years, and awards winners and finalists in a range of business-related categories. The Environmental Step Change Award category was new this year and looked to award a business or organisation that has acted to protect or improve the natural environment.

"We felt there was a strong market for these categories as we have seen a lot of local businesses and organisations working to improve both the natural environment and the social fabric of their community through their business initiatives," expressed awards organiser and Business Support Manager at Enterprise North Canterbury, Miles Dalton.

Ashburton District Council selected Eco Educate earlier this year to fill the role of waste and water sustainability educator. Their uniquely innovative and quirky approach to environmental and waste minimisation educational programmes in preschools and high schools in the Ashburton district have been well received. Being recognised for their exceptional work in this area is now evident, but founder Lesley Ottey is not one to easily step into the spotlight.

"I was stunned and gobsmacked," she said of Eco Educate being announced as the winner. "I don't do this for awards or recognition; I do it for the future of our environment, and for the chance to work with the kids of our communities, teaching them about waste minimisation," she added.

Eco Educate also received the runner-up award in the People's Choice award category, again not only demonstrating the effectiveness of their programmes, but also their popularity.

Ashburton District Council is proud to share Eco Educates' awards and recognition with our district and look forward to the quality education our schools and students continue to receive.​​​​

Page reviewed: 03 Sep 2018 5:14pm