Our programmes and resources support the wide variety of areas supported by Environment Canterbury.  They have been developed by a team of educators to support the New Zealand curriculum. You can access the resources by topic or explore the document library.

Our resources include lessons plans, activities and information and suggestions you could use in your classroom


A breath of fresh air bookletA breath of fresh air

Air is all around us, we need it to live, and when it becomes polluted it affects everyone. Find out more about Canterbury's air quality.

Did you know?

Winter time air quality in Canterbury towns and cities is at times poor. Around 80% of winter air pollution is caused by smoke from poorly performing domestic fires.

The problem is made worse by Canterbury’s topography and frosty, calm winter climate, which creates a temperature inversion – a layer of warm air traps pollutants close to the ground. The Science Learning Hub has a good explanation of this process.

The way to improve air quality in Canterbury towns is to move toward cleaner methods of keeping our homes warm.

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SeaWeek fact sheetsUp to 90% of New Zealanders live within 40km of the sea – an unusual statistic globally.  The Canterbury coast is spectacular in its variety, from Kaikoura to Pegasus Bay and from Banks Peninsula/Horomaka to South Canterbury.

There are rocky platforms, eroding sea cliffs, wide sandy beaches, sheltered bays, coastal lagoons, estuaries, mudflats and exposed shingle beaches – we have it all! Such opportunity for exploration and learning.

The coast has always been important for Ngai Tahu, providing kai moana and spiritual sustenance.  The concept of Ki uta, Ki tai sums up their understanding that the coast is an integral part of the whole environment from the mountains to the sea.

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We also coordinate Seaweek activities across Canterbury.  Events for the annual Seaweek will be listed on the national Seaweek website Seaweek website.

Marine Metre Squared

Marine Metre SquaredMarine Metre Squared is an easy way for anyone to survey the plants and animals living on their local seashore.

The NZ Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago, is encouraging everyone to participate in long term monitoring of their marine environment – the Marine Metre Squared. Anyone can take part – individuals, families, schools and community groups. 

The Youth Engagement and Education Team have quadrats available for teachers to borrow to enable classes to collect their own data from a local coastal environment to contribute to the project.  If you are interested in borrowing the kit and/or would like assistance email Jocelyn Papprill Greater Christchurch and North Canterbury or Debbie Eddington for South Canterbury. 

To see how this works in practice St Joseph’s Timaru created this YouTube clip of their experience. 

For more information and an introduction to MM2 visit or watch this video.

Natural Hazards 
Climate Change 

Canterbury faces climate-related risks such as droughts, storms, coastal flooding and erosion. The climate is constantly changing as a result of natural processes. There is strong scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), particularly from the use of fossil fuels, are causing the climate to change at unprecedented rates.

Moving to a low carbon economy will take time. How we address the implications of climate change will affect our region and all who live here for decades to come.

Mitigating and adapting to climate change is a challenge. It means doing things that will have wider positive effects, such as reducing the environmental impact of transport, planting more trees, managing water usage, and creating diverse electricity production.

How climate change is affecting Canterbury is what this resource is all about. We investigate what it will mean for you, your family and friends, and the natural environment. More importantly, we explore what you could do about climate change and how you can prepare for its effects/impacts.

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Download sections of this educational resource:

New Zealand Curriculum resources on climate change

Useful links about climate change in Canterbury

Useful links of organisations that provide general information about climate change in New Zealand

Transport and energy 

ChCh/Canterbury fact

Statistics NZ estimates that 19.1 per cent of households in Canterbury have access to three or more motor vehicles, compared with 16.1 per cent of all households in New Zealand.

Motor vehicles have a huge effect on the environment, such as encroachment of roads/motorways on land, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and contamination of waterways through oil and fuel leaks.

But, we do need to get from A to B. So how can we do so in a more sustainable way? Catching a bus, walking and biking are all excellent alternative transport options that have fewer negative effects on the environment.

Our resources cover the following topics

  • transport options

Our resources offer information and suggestions you could use in your classroom. View these resources

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Biodiversity and pests 

Aotearoa is a special place. We have a huge number of species of plants and animals which can only be found here. If any of these species becomes extinct, they will be lost forever from New Zealand and the world.

Canterbury fact

Learn more about what Environment Canterbury does to sustain our biodiversity.  

Our resources offer information and suggestions you could use in your classroom.  Click here to view these resources.

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Water is perhaps the number one natural resource issue in Canterbury. Whether we’re talking quality or quantity, the demand for Canterbury’s water is extremely high. Learn more about what we do to manage water here.
Our resources offer information and suggestions you could use in your classroom.  Click here to view these resources

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  • We offer a facilitated programme called Waitaha Wai. This programme has been designed to educate young people and their communities about the importance of water and waterways in their environment and how to maintain them for future generations.
  • For detailed analysis and commentary on the Canterbury Water Management Strategy, five years on, read this quick guide or watch the presentations captured here. 

Our towns and cities couldn’t survive without a good stormwater system. This is different to wastewater, which goes down drains from inside our house after we do our washing, flush the toilet or have a bath.

Canterbury fact

Stormwater runs through a separate piped system from wastewater, so most stormwater isn’t treated before going into our rivers, estuaries and out to the sea.

Our resources offer information and suggestions you could use in your classroom.  Click here to view these resources.

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  • Our free stormwater education programme is aimed at year 7/8 students and delves into the big issues - where the water comes from, where it goes, why it is contaminated, and what effect this has on the quality of surface waterways.
  • It also describes actions that schools, individuals and communities can take to improve urban stormwater quality and protect unique stream environments that make up our towns. Stormwater is inextricably linked to how we manage waste.

There has been huge wetland loss over many years, with more than 90 percent of wetlands lost throughout the country through drainage, land development and land-use change.

Canterbury fact

In Canterbury, natural wetlands on the plains are now very rare; most of the remaining wetlands are coastal or in the foothills, high country or margins of rivers.

Wetlands are considered taonga for Ngāi Tahu, and with the protection of Mahinga Kai now included in Farm Environment Plans for some Canterbury districts, we will see more wetland protection and development.

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World Wetlands Day

Let’s celebrate World Wetlands Day – each February 2nd.

General resources

For more information and support on how the work at Environment Canterbury connects across the NZ Curriculum contact the education team.