Students at Fiordland College’s proposal to build a student-run energy park earned the Southland school a place in the finals of a prestigious global sustainability award.

The proposed energy park would integrate solar, water, wind and energy, while combining functionality with art via energy-generating culturally-inspired sculptures. The plan was to reduce their ecological footprint in an engaging way by enhancing environmental knowledge and awareness among its local community, as well as the one million visitors who pass through the school annually.

Fiordland College is a GreenGold Enviroschool, with a vision to becoming a Centre of Environmental Excellence, with Education for Sustainability embedded across the school curriculum and operation.

Student and teacher representatives were invited to travel to Abu Dhabi for the awarding ceremony on 14 January.

Originally established by the United Arab Emirates leadership as the Zayed Future Energy Prize in 2008, the Zayed Sustainability Prize is a global award inspired by the sustainability legacy of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The Prize awards US$600,000 for each of the categories: Energy, Water, Health and Food. It also rewards high schools proposing sustainability education projects in these four areas. The categories align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and reflect the most pressing sustainability challenges and offer the greatest socio-economic impact on the lives of people around the world.

Winning high schools from different regions of the world are awarded US$100,000 each.

The winner of the Pacific and East Asia region prize was Muntinlupa High School in the Philippines.

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