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Eye on Nature 2023

Immersive school programme

March 26, 2023 / developer / 0 comments

This March has brought Papaya Stories an amazing collaboration with the Beautification Trust and Auckland Botanic Gardens. As part of Eye on Nature School days, we worked closely together to design a new site-specific audio programme for little adventurers and their whānau to connect with the environment, learn how to reduce waste, and live more sustainably.

Eye on Nature School Days is the annual environmental event for South and East Auckland primary schools with a different theme each year. A very important topic – Waste – was the theme for 2023. So we got asked to create an inspiring 30-minute hands-on interactive audio programme for school groups. Relying on the power of immersive storytelling and previous experience in running the educational Sustainability Kids Tour, we wrote a new story that was told and reenacted on behalf of guests from the future. 

Contact and interaction with nature is a source of wonder and inspiration for kids; coupled with an immersive interactive format of learning results in great learning outcomes, making the process more accessible, fun, and engaging. Combined with the concept of the Silent Disco Kids Adventures, it resulted in a very meaningful and interactive experience for environmental heroes of the future with heaps of fun, learning, playing, and dancing.

Bozo and Vida, the story’s main characters from 2077, landed in Auckland Botanic Gardens on a mission to deliver a simple message to the kids: `The future is in their hands`, so tamariki start to think about their impact on nature and how they can become part of the solution. With all eyes and ears on Nature, we went for an interactive adventure to unlock nature’s best secrets!

Bozo and Vido Guests from the Future in Auckland Botanic Gardens

school kids meet guests from the future in Auckland botanic gardens

From 13 to 15 March, we held as many as twelve event sessions and engaged over 350 children, inspiring them to think outside the box, look out for futuristic boxes, solve riddles, and draw a map of the Future!

We also got a chance to discover the Garden`s catchment, a sustaining complex system for the water to flow through made up of planted areas, suburbs, etc. that leads all the way to the Manukau Harbour! A truly fascinating man-made creation!

school kids learn about the catchment system in Auckland botanic gardens

Thanks to our tech-savvy approach, we were able to deliver an integrated educational programme while splitting the class into two teams. One group of tamariki learnt about different plants that grow in African Garden, and the Silk Floss Tree that blossoms in Rock Garden. While another group was exploring the Children’s Potters Garden where kids learnt about the vital role of Kereru in saving New Zealand native forest and also about the use of living roofs.   

“I loved it when when Bozo and Vida put futuristic headphones on us and they were talking to
us in our minds about nature!” 

“My favourite activity was the headphones and looking for the boxes because all we did was dance and not care about the people staring as we were in our own worlds and having fun.”

“It was so cool to teleport to different places! I really felt like I was in Africa and South America!”

Excited about being introduced to the living and breathing environment, not only did the kids find it fascinating, but felt encouraged to care for it. With the power of the mind, tamariki got to listen to their future selves talking about extinct species that could however be still saved in our days!

children exploring different climate zones in auckland botanic gardens with headphones

guests from the future asking kids about their insights and takeouts from the immersive audio story

school children enjoying the immersive audio adventure with papaya stories in auckland botanic gardens

But of all the beautiful moments, one would definitely stay with us forever. That was the exact moment we realised how much we can actually learn from our little but wise humans. When asking kids about the messages they’d want to send in the future, we had a little girl who said that her main wish for the future was to see her brother who passed away a weeks week ago. We were truly moved by that wish and tried to provide hope and aroha for that brave little heart and ensure that she continues to believe that they will meet again.

Little kids, Big hearts, indeed.

eye on nature school kids learn about living more sustainable every day

school kids with headphones on in auckland botanic gardens on a sustainability tour by papaya stories

Tried and tested, the concept of the Kids Sustainability Tour enables us to deliver unique outdoor audio tours, adventures or walks for hands-on learning to a variety of kids groups.  Papaya Stories is open to initiatives and collaborations like this across Tamaki Makarau and beyond. From scriptwriting and story development to designing a site-specific audio experience for your group – we are happy to offer our services and expertise! 

Keen to chat? Get in touch with us today!

kids sustainability tour by papaya stories during eye on nature school days in Auckland botanic gardens

photography by the Beautification Trust

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