How green are we?
An Environmental Scan of the University was carried out in late 2011. The stocktake highlighted how well we are doing in terms of environmental sustainability, where the gaps are, and recommendations. This document is available for staff to access via iWaikato.
An Environmental Sustainability Survey was conducted in mid-2012, to ascertain how the University was doing from an environmental sustainability perspective, and to measure staff and students opinions and behaviour. Staff can access these reports on iWaikato.
This is a quarterly Enviro newsletter for staff on the Environet list, and also the community. It gives an update on environmental projects on campus, news and information. If you want to receive this one page newsletter, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Greening Up Campus (ongoing)
In an effort to reduce our impact on the environment, we have set up small battery recycling on campus, and are installing internal recycling stations to reduce our waste. Within 6 months the first 11 recycling stations diverted 1 tonne of recyclables from landfill.
We are developing an Energy Programme and campaign for later this year.
We have 3 small community gardens on campus. The first garden was established behind TEMS. Staff from Law and nearby areas, deposit their food scraps, coffee grinds and tea bags into the compost bin which breaks the matter down to go on the garden as fertiliser. If you would like to know more about the garden, contact: Dr Chris Eames on email@example.com.
ITS have a small permaculture garden, and the student gardening group also have a site outside WSU.
A waste minimisation and management plan is under development, to assist reduce waste being produced on campus. Additionally, we have 11 recycling stations around campus, and a 2 meter worm digester, which contends with up to 3.5 tonnes of organic waste from the Village Green per annum. The resulting fertilizer is put on the gardens. Staff and students are welcome to help themselves to worm tea (liquid fertilizer).
Waste audits (weighing and categorising of waste, in order to reduce and manage it) occur twice a year on campus. Staff and students are welcome to take part in these.
Ratty the Recycler, (also known as Rore Kiore) is a plasticine mascot designed by FASS student, Amy Ninnes. A competition was held for students, to create an engaging logo or figure; to educate and raise awareness on environmental issues. Rore Kiore, is currently around campus on posters and animated film, promoting awareness on waste. View Amy's first film here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt3Opb1rJlg
Waste Innovation: from Campus to Community
Waste is a priority for reduction on campus. We have received funding from Waikato Regional Council and Hamilton City Council, to develop an in-vessel organic diversion system, that will have the potential to reduce the university's organic waste. Two engineering students have begun work on a prototype.
If the concept is viable, we will have solved a key waste issue on campus, but also potentially for similar sized organisations and tertiary institutions across the region and the country.
In late 2013, a 3 month trial of recycling stations in the Faculty of Education Cafeteria and Waikato Management School was conducted. 10-12 bags of recyclables were collected on average each week. A substantial amount of 'resource' was diverted from landfill with just 2 stations. The largest recyclable item was HDPE (type 2) and PET (type 1) plastic bottles.
In alignment with our Strategy and Environmental Policy, we are now expanding indoor recycling across campus. Stations have been established in: LAW, TEMS, FASS, Pathways, S Block, FoE, L Block, and more to come.
Update May 2014
Thanks to funding from Waikato River Authority, we have removed over 6,000 pest fish from Oranga Lake and planted 1700 native plants. The next stage is to put a further 350 plants into margins around the lake, and also scope the possibility of adding a flocculant to assist bind finely suspended sediments.
Please do not release any fish into the campus lakes. Introducing fish disrupts the lake's fragile ecosystem and degrades water quality. Pest fish like carp and catfish churn up sediments and compete with native fish. The campus lakes are connected to the storm water system which in turn discharges to the Waikato River.
Update Lakes- December 2013-February 2014
As people will have noted, the aquatic weed in Oranga Lake has proven to be more prolific than anticipated. This is likely due to the clearer water from the sediment removal, allowing more light to penetrate. Because of the weed growth, further planned work has been delayed, such as: a charophtye trial and removal of the remaining pest fish.
The Grounds Manager is currently looking at options for aquatic weed control.
Oranga Lake Remediation Project Stage II --- 2013
Approximately 1600 cubic meters of sediment was pumped from Oranga Lake into a filtering bund area in the glade during February. The sediment contained in the bund is currently drying out, after which time it will be spread out and covered with topsoil.
We have developed a rongoā and harakeke garden for education and practice. Linked to the lakes and garden will be interpretive educational signs providing ecological links, as well as illustrating current and historical information.
In February, Biological Sciences pest fish researchers removed 770 pest fish from the lake, including catfish, goldfish, koi carp and gambusia. 100 native short-fin eels were rescued from Oranga Lake and transferred to Knighton Lake.
Pest fish are a problem in many Waikato lakes, and can hinder lake restoration. Carp, goldfish, gambusia and catfish all compete with our native fish (shortfin eel and common bully) and can churn up the bottom sediments making the water murky. This process is called bioturbation and mobilises nutrients which promote algal blooms.
These pest fish can also migrate between our lakes and into the Waikato River, so a pest fish barrier has been installed under the footbridge between the lakes to prevent adult pest fish from entering Oranga Lake. Another will be installed on the outlet of Knighton Lake.
We will be putting in 1500-2000 native plants in our second community planting day this May, and will be inviting staff, students and the community to take part.
An Energy plan will be developed later this year, in conjunction with an energy campaign to try to reduce the amount we spend on energy.
We have a travel plan and this will be revisited in 2014.
Carbon on Campus
Research was conducted in 2012, on the ability of campus trees to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. See link for story Waikato campus helping capture carbon
We have a small community garden behind CSTER. Staff from Law and nearby areas, deposit their food scraps, coffee grinds and tea bags into the compost bin which breaks the matter down to go on the garden as fertilizer. If you would like to know more about the garden contact: Dr Chris Eames on firstname.lastname@example.org.