Posted by Eve Butler on Nov 02, 2018

Kenya was the recipient of the Rotary Senior School Service Award for her service to environmental issues at the Saint Kentigern College.

Kenya has been widely involved in environmental programmes throughout her education. Of particular significance is her involvement in Trees for Survival. This is an environmental programme that sees students grow, care for and plant out thousands of native seedlings in riparian zones across Auckland every year. Kenya began her involvement in ‘Trees for Survival’ at age 7 at Ardmore Primary School; which she then continued to engage with here at the College until Year 13. Trees for Survival has been running at the College for now more than 25 years, and in that time has planted over 30,000 trees. The Saint Kentigern is very grateful to the Pakuranga Rotary who are our sponsors and never miss a planting day with the college.

This year, Kenya was the Chairperson of the Environmental Council at Saint Kentigern College. The Council is a group of Year 13 students who promote environmental awareness at the college. This year their major projects included raising awareness on plastic pollution and increasing student involvement in the various Environmental Groups across the campus. Kenya has also actively promoted environmental issues with youth across New Zealand. In 2017 she co-organised “Green Jam” held here at Saint Kentigern College, alongside students from Pakuranga College and Sacred Heart. This was a student-run youth sustainability conference to congregate young people interested in sustainability from schools across Central and East Auckland. Their aim was to build environmental empathy and to help students problem solve environmental issues in their community.

Kenya’s passion for sustainability has also driven her further afield. This included the “Together for Development” Conference in Swaziland in the summer of 2017, which encouraged young people from around the globe to critically engage with sustainable development and humanitarian crises. Between February 26 – March 9, 2018 Kenya was selected by Sir Peter Blake trust to embark on an expedition to the Kermadec Islands on board HMNZS Canterbury. 20 students travelled to Raoul Island alongside Environmental Scientists and leaders from NIWA, DOC, GNS, Ministry for the Environment, Chapman Trip Lawyers and Auckland and Massey University. While in the area they collected data research on the impacts of climate change and pollution on ecosystems in the area and learnt a range of problem-solving tools for the future.

Kenya has most enjoyed building connections with younger people who are passionate and motivated about sustainability. In 2019 she is attending Otago University, where she will be studying a Bachelor of Applied Science (majoring in Environmental Management) and a Bachelor of Laws, with special interest in Microbiology and Science Communication. She aims to pursue a career in Environmental Law or consultancy, where she can promote sustainability and influence environmental change.

--Eve Butler, Teacher in Charge - Trees for Survival Saint Kentigern College