Project summaries - 2007 Eco Schools grants
Albury High School
Eco skills trail and eco mentor program
This project is focused on utilising our school grounds as an effective resource for learning. The AHS eco-skills trail (e.s.t) will consist of a kit and a series of workstations exploring aspects of biodiversity and environment across all of the key learning areas (KLAs). Activities will include using a clinometer to measure the height of specific trees, photographing and identifying bird species, testing a water sample/soil sample, classifying tree species, assessing organisms within a quadrat, monitoring the impact of aspect on lichen growth, constructing food webs, completing a field sketch, assessing stormwater impacts, playing tree bingo and investigating micro-climate. Talented students from year 8 will undertake training to become eco mentors, linking with feeder primary schools to foster positive environmental attitudes and undertake co-operative learning activities. All students, staff and parents will learn to value the school grounds as a resource and a learning asset, fostering an acceptance of sustainability as a critically important concept.
The proposed project is to develop an existing urban forest area as an outdoor classroom for use by students and teachers. The area for the project is currently an underutilised area within the school grounds with mature native tree cover. Under a landscape master plan designed for the school this area is to be maintained as an urban forest and as a quiet play area. At present the area has few facilities, other than the frog pond, under construction by the P&C. ANPS is a small inner urban school with limited open space. In addition, increasing student population has placed pressure on available specialist classroom space. This project would enable development of the urban forest area into an integrated educational facility through creation of seating areas, understorey native plantings and a no-dig garden. Teachers and students would be able to use this space to study environmental education topics including biodiversity, land management and environmental responsibility.
Students will participate in developing the learning areas and information stations along the bush walking trail which covers approximately one third of the school grounds. Metal labels, replanting, construction of a bird hide and information boards will need to be constructed. Parent and community volunteer assistance will be required for some of the work necessary to make the bush trail. Knowledge of local flora and fauna will be developed through on site learning stations positioned throughout the bush track. A bird hide will enable the students to spot fauna and information boards will contain information about native habitats and fauna. The creek and water holes at the bottom of the track will be made suitable for the installation of frog ponds and yabby holes. Weeds and unwanted vegetation will gradually be cleared and suitable, new flora replanted in its place. The local Bushcare group and Baulkham Hills Council officers will advise the school on what flora is suited to the environment.
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This project will consist of setting up water tanks as fish tanks. The fish water will be pumped through gravel beds growing vegetables. The plants will extract the nutrients out of the water which is then returned to the fish, clean and oxygenated. The fish and/or yabbies will be fed on worms grown on vegetable waste from the gardens, the home science teaching area and the canteen and on duckweed growing in the tanks. This project will form an integral part of the setting up of permaculture gardens in the school and will link with integrated programs in Science, Agriculture and Aboriginal Education programs in particular. This project will be different to most others the school has previously undertaken in that the teachers and students will plan, set up the system and learn about its operation together. This will also be done across curriculum areas particularly involving the Science, Industrial Technology and Aboriginal Education faculties and students.
The school has over the past few years begun several environmental projects:
there is an established rainforest area
a vegetable garden and chook pen utilised for teaching purposes, cooking lessons and to encourage healthy eating by children
bush tucker 'snack track' has also been started and will be utilised as it becomes more established
a fitness circuit has been constructed by students leading through various areas of the playground
rainwater tanks are to be placed near new playground structures to collect rainwater for gardens
the school is leading a project over 5 local schools to produce units of work around sustainable living.
It is very important that these diverse projects be linked to ensure their sustainability and usefulness as whole school models to integrate into the teaching program, improve the quality of the local environment and invite community participation and expertise.
This year our school is offering Agriculture as an elective to year 9 and as a component of Design and Technology for year 7, we are focusing learning in this area on sustainable land practices as part of our SEMP. Integrated plant and animal production systems reduce inputs and labour and can significantly increase production. We plan to use our integrated chicken and vegetable system, designed and built by the year 9 Agriculture class, to teach the fundamental principles behind all integrated systems. The design will incorporate the recycling of school waste in the form of food scraps from the school kitchens, tuckshop and playground, and waste paper, into compost. The outputs of eggs, ethical and sustainable land use will be taken home by our students.
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After construction work on the front steps of the school, a steep sandy slope was left largely denuded of its vegetation. The Brigidine Friends of the Environment Group embarked on this project to restore and rehabilitate this area. The group decided to do this by reintroducing indigenous vegetation to the site in the hope of attracting native birds and other fauna by replacing exotic plants with native plants. The project will aid in the re-establishing of some of the threatened plants from the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub Ecosystem in an area that is of interest to the local community because of its historical sandstone wall and steps. It will also minimise erosion of the natural sandy slope, as well as improve the quality of the local environment on Coogee Bay Road. The project has been designed to be completed in stages over 3 years depending on the funds available.
The Cooks River water quality has raised concerns for many years. Regular monitoring of water quality will lead to innovative community and agency actions which will improve water quality and human behaviour in the catchment area.
Caringbah North Public School
Kids Creating Koori Cuisine with Bushels of Bush, Bugs and Birds
Caringbah North School is set on three hectares of land. There is a thin canopy of trees scattered throughout the site, however, there is no area set aside that allows for the attraction and protection of any native fauna or flora. As a result the children have no opportunity to observe and appreciate natural bio-systems at work, or how natural systems can provide food for both animals and people. The purpose of this undertaking is to:
raise the children's awareness and understanding of the importance and function of a natural ecosystem (i.e. the interactions and balances that are formed in the natural environment between insect, plant and animal life)
learn some of the skills that traditional Aboriginal communities used to identify, collect and prepare bush food and learn how Aboriginal people incorporated sustainability into their lifestyle
establish a natural haven for local natural fauna by regrowing local species incorporating natural grasses, an understorey of shrubs and a canopy of trees.
The area of the project site is approximately 900 square metres.
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A no-dig organic garden incorporating vegetable gardens, bush food, composting, worm farm, native bees and plantings to continue the schools koala corridor. This garden will enhance our standing as a sustainable school and complement our environmental policy as well as provide a valuable teaching resource.
Our project is to develop more biodiversity in our playground through the creation of a healthy ecology, a sustainable bush tucker garden and frog ponds. A section of our grounds was identified as being in need of regeneration in 2006. The area is being eroded by uncontrolled run-off, exposure to strong ocean winds, inhabitation by rabbits, rodents and myna birds. We would like to regenerate the area and make a wet/dry habitat suitable for native frogs, birds and lizards to create an outdoor learning experience. We see this as an opportunity to learn about ecosystems, waste and water management, native plants, sustainability, mini beasts, methods of recycling and management of land.
A green corridor and nature trail project to be created on a site which has little shade and is an occupational health and safety risk to students. A risk assessment was undertaken by teachers and the evaluation concluded that the vegetation was a risk especially the dead branches of old natives. The vegetation will be removed and replaced with a green corridor of rainforest trees, ground plants and native grasses incorporated into a nature trail. The projects aim is to also increase the biodiversity of our school with the green corridor.
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Dapto High School (DHS) is committed to environmental education and this is one area where Indigenous outcomes can be incorporated into the teaching and learning for the students, staff and wider community. In the last 12 months DHS has designed and constructed a 1.5 kilometre walking track throughout the grounds of the school. It is proposed that the areas bordering the walking track could be planted with bush tucker plants that offer medicinal benefits. The grant would allow for the track to be upgraded and for the planting of the relevant species. It is also proposed that Year 9 Science students would research the types of plants that would be appropriate not only for bush tucker but also would be native for our local area. The students would plant and maintain the garden and construct signs to indicate species and common name. They would also develop laminated information sheets to accompany each of the species planted. The walking track is used by all students and staff in the school and so this resource would not only benefit the teaching and learning of Year 9 Science students but would benefit all who use the track. DHS grounds are used by soccer groups as well as Little Athletics and so the wider community also benefits.
Darlington Point Public School is a small school located in the Riverina region of NSW. The school currently has an ATSI population of 30%. Over the last year and a half we have worked closely with the Aboriginal community to promote aspects of traditional culture within our school. The bush tucker and outdoor learning area will be an educational tool where all students can go to work with Elders of our Aboriginal community to learn about plants which were and can be used for bush tucker and medicinal purposes. The outdoor area would also be used as a teaching area for traditional dance, games and story telling. Over the years it is hoped that the area will become a focal point for our school where understanding will be fostered and developed between all cultures.
This is a project about the development of a wetlands outdoor classroom and Aboriginal cultural area on the grounds of Denison College – Kelso High Campus. Kelso High has been a leader in environmental education within the school district for many years making use of a small wetland area as both and outdoor classroom for the school and an outreach for the feeder schools in the district. In 2005 the school was totally burnt down, and as a result of the new building program, the old wetland will be removed. Through the community consultation process for the new school 'environmental education' and 'outreach' were identified as high priorities as well as Aboriginal cultural education. The specific outcomes of this project are to:
become a centre for environmental education within the Bathurst School District through the wetlands
raise awareness for water conservation and maintenance of the natural environment
use their knowledge of environmental management practices to apply to strategies within the school environment and local community.
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Dobroyd Point Public School wants to be a visible example of an environmentally sound learning environment. Students have been involved in a number of environmental programs and the school wants its environmental strategy to cover all aspects of school life, from learning inside the classroom to the way the school functions as a whole. The application for Eco Schools is one important aspect of the school's overall SEMP. The first step in the plan is to manage water use and develop a water-recycling program. The school will install rainwater tanks on its existing buildings of the school with the aim of using the water to maintain the school's landscape and eventually to use recycled water in the toilets and watering systems. An invaluable part of the environmental plan is the associated education program developed to help students become environmentally aware and gain an understanding of how they can conserve water in their own community and their home life.
Drummoyne Public School has a problem with playground litter caused by excess packaging and the difficult physical layout of the school. The existing program needs improvement as we have found that short term focus on rubbish collection initiatives does not lead to long term change in practice. We need to focus more on educating the students to become more environmentally responsible. Our management project aims to develop obvious environmental waste and litter reduction while also resulting in long term behavioural change and the development of environmental responsibility within our students, teachers and school community.
Epping North Primary School
Increasing native plants and biodiversity within our school
Within our expansive school grounds there are garden areas that require more appropriate native vegetation to prevent noxious plant growth and where it is appropriate to grow more than just grass. We wish to encourage biodiversity and create outdoor learning resources. We intend to:
re-establish our shade house: install shelves, repair shade cloth and install security
purchase gardening tools such as class set of hand trowels, tubs for soil, hole diggers, watering cans, a wheelbarrow and spades
purchase a start-up set of consumables such as native seed stock and native plant seed-raising mix.
Our project would provide native replacement plants. Students will be more actively involved in 'Tree planting day' preparation and post care, thus increasing their knowledge of native plant species, their care and suitability for certain environments.
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Ermington Public School
Creation of an eco-garden/outdoor learning space at Ermington School
The design and creation of an eco-garden at Ermington Public School will provide the focus for environmental education over the next three years. The project will encourage an integrated, practical approach to environmental education across K-6. (Ermington Public School staff had identified this area as a need). It will also provide an area for hands-on experiences to assist in the teaching of Science and Technology (also identified as a need). From the design of the garden, through the building and site preparation process, to the planting, maintenance and signage of the garden, students from K-6 will be involved. They will have practical experiences of environmentally sustainable practices which they can apply in their home situations. Establishment of a prototype garden, installation of a water tank and watering system will take place during 2007. In 2008, expansion will include a rainforest area, a vegetable garden (supplying raw materials to the canteen), a bush tucker garden, as well as installation of durable signs. In 2007 we will install a prototype composting system to build student awareness of recycling. In 2008 we intend to expand our waste management strategies to incorporate the whole school.
At Fairvale student teams initiate and carry out a variety of environmental projects at school and in the local community. Currently five projects are underway and another three are planned. Existing projects are diverse and include the construction of artificial wetlands to treat stormwater, the maintenance of a frog pond, growing organic vegetables, the promotion of sustainability concepts in the school newsletter and the planning and construction of an access road through a revegetated area. Planned projects include the propagation of local plant species for distribution to the local community, the building of bird boxes and a composting scheme. Each project relies on student voice and the ability of students to work effectively in teams. Each team needs to solve problems as they are encountered and effectively design and implement their ideas in a timely and cost effective manner. Before commencement each project must first pass the test of being of real environmental benefit. Funding through the Eco Schools Program will enable materials to be purchased and training to be carried out so that the number of projects can be extended and the existing projects be carried out with adequate resources.
Franklin School is concerned about the loss of native vegetation and associated bird and insect life following the removal of established native vegetation (blue gum, wattle and bottlebrush) by Country Energy on the school's eastern boundary in 2007. This native corridor established when the school was built in the 1970's and measuring some 250m x 15m, affords students and the school protection from noise and traffic from the Snowy Mountains Highway. This native stand of trees also allowed students to see first-hand the interaction of plant and native parrots. Franklin School wants to re-establish this area as a venue for hands-on environmental education, with the active participation of students, the parent body and the wider Tumut community (e.g. Landcare, Aboriginal community). In addition the site will become a living model of native re-generation and beautification.
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Goolma Public School
Environmental Assets Resilience Teaching Habitats - Earth
King Parrots, echidnas and kangaroos visit our playground but there are no small birds and animals. We must plant an under storey in our horse paddock of small spiky local provenance shrubs to encourage and protect these small animals. Our horse paddock also needs water to encourage a diversity of flora and fauna to live among the large trees. Furniture ensures this becomes an even more valuable learning space in our daily school life. Presently food scraps are tossed in the compost bin but remain unused. Chooks would provide a friendlier more efficient way of recycling scraps and help children value animals and learn about the web of life in a real and practical way. An expanding infestation of khaki weed will choke out all plants and render the playground unsafe if we don't implement a regime to overcome it. Expert and repeated application of selective herbicide in prime growing time with watering will enable grass to out-compete this noxious weed. Resewing grass to ensure success. Uniting the community through planting an edible Harmony Day anti racism garden will engage all students in planting foods from different cultures, including Wiradjuri people, will further enable all children to value the environment.
Guyra Central School
Environmental/Aboriginal outdoor learning centre
The Environmental/Aboriginal outdoor learning centre will be a garden area located on the school grounds. The garden will be designed and constructed by students and the community. Students from K-12 will be able to participate in environmental and/or Aboriginal activities in an outdoor environment. The need for this area has been identified by the school's Environmental Education Committee as essential for the successful mandatory implementation of environmental objectives across all curriculum areas as outlined in the school's SEMP. This project would enable students from K-12 to take part in highly interactive, enterprising and stimulating activities. Students would develop many skills whilst also developing and strengthening ties with local community groups, individuals and Government through educational displays, presentations and activities. The project is an essential tool in the development of a sustainable school that nurtures environmental awareness and education in a relevant and effective manner.
Holsworthy High School
Holsworthy wildlife: stop revive survive - shadehouse project
Holsworthy HS has recently benefitted from the sale of unused land by the NSW DET and intends to use available funds to improve its grounds. The plan is to strip, cultivate and revegetate a large area of playing fields to accommodate a new school playing field with drought resistant, low growth turf with subsurface irrigation fed by a 125KL rainwater tank. In addition, a submission to the Federal Envirofund seeks to create an urban wildlife refuge and foraging ground alongside the field and contiguous areas planted with endemic Cumberland Plain species. Many of these plantings will be done by staff and students in their own time and to adequately supply these requirements a shadehouse is needed to teach students (through the Science curriculum) about propagation using seed supplied through school based seed collection workshops and SCRAP Ltd. The total expenditure on the entire project is over $215,000 and the school considers it an important part of the community learning to apply to a range of environmental funds for support to demonstrate the range and types of options available. The Eco Schools grant would make a significant contribution to the overall project by funding a shadehouse which will be fundamental to student learning about biodiversity especially native flora, propagation and care of grounds.
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Excavation of our school site in 1996 resulted in considerable degradation of adjacent school wetland and much of its original flora was destroyed. On the advice of local WetlandCare personnel, the school's Year 3 and 4 children propagated enough wetland trees so that each of our Year 3 to Year 6 pupils (240 pupils) could plant a tree in our wetland during Term 2, 2007, to restore trees removed when the site was excavated. Our WetlandCare advisors assure us that regenerating the site has only just begun. Invasive weeds should be removed from our wetland and many smaller plant species such as grasses, sedges and rushes should replace them to fully re-establish the local wetland flora. Based on this advice, our proposed environmental education primary school focus for 2008 is a Small Wetland Plants Project. The school has a shade house for nurturing young seedlings but no secure facility to provide full sun exposure for plants ('hardening off') which is necessary in the months before planting out. To allow our pupils to be involved in all the stages of plant propagation from germination to establishment, during the 'small wetland plants project', an 8 metre by 6 metre secure yard would need to be built adjacent to the school's shade house.
"Growing Together", our environmental management project aims to establish a community garden, renew a shade house for seed propagation and increase our school community's knowledge about practical environmental management strategies involving composting, worm farming and establishing and maintaining gardens. More than fifteen years ago the Greening Australia Schools Project established a shade house in the grounds of the school. The shade house has become dangerously rusted in parts, the shade cloth curtains have rotted away and its watering system does not work. The school has paid a consultant to cost the renewal of the shade house. In 2006 the school enclosed the shade house in a secure fenced area so that any future propagation program would be untouched by vandalism or feral animals. The time is right for the shade house renewal. This project will make a difference to the cohesiveness of the school community, to the community's knowledge of the school and local environments and to the community's knowledge of managing the environment wisely.
The aim of the edible classroom at Jannali East Public School is to create and sustain an organic vegetable and herb garden and landscape that is wholly integrated into the school's curriculum and enhances the children's eating habits. It will involve the students in all aspects of farming the garden – along with preparing, serving and eating the grown food – as a means of awakening their senses and encouraging awareness and appreciation of the values of healthy eating, community, and sustainability of the land. Using food systems as a key concept, students learn how to grow, harvest, and prepare nutritious seasonal produce. Educational experiences in the kitchen and garden foster a better understanding of how the natural world sustains us, and promote the environmental and social well being of our school community.
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Kingswood Park Public School
Indigenous bush tucker garden and outdoor learning/meeting space
The students of Kingswood Public School conducted an audit of the school's resource consumption in March 2007. The students noticed a significant proportion of the school waste stream was organic/food waste and that this waste was unnecessarily going to landfill. To avoid this, the students proposed investigating the installation of a compost and worm farm to allow for the breakdown and re-use of the waste. This activity will not only reduce waste to landfill but will also provide for a significant learning activity within the school grounds. It will help develop the students understanding of how we interact with the environment and how we can operate in a sustainable manner on a day to day basis. This project includes the initial set up of the wormery, a school assembly induction and a teachers' and students' workshop conducted by SCRAP (School Communities Recycling All Paper). These professional learning exercises will facilitate the integration of this environment management exercise into the school's teaching-learning program. Ultimately, this project will help complete the principle waste action highlighted in our School Environmental Management Plan, which was to reduce the amount of food and organic waste entering landfill from our school.
Kurri Kurri Primary School
Construction of a raised garden bed to develop a sensory garden
The school's Environmental Management and Conservation Committee initiated the project to facilitate student learning about environmental sustainability and conservation. This project is identified in the management of school grounds and adheres to the school's SEMP. By establishing the garden, the students will be involved in the sustainability of the garden and improve the aesthetic appearance of their environment. The garden will be utilised to teach students about conservation. The establishment of an organic composting program will be introduced to maintain the feasibility of the garden. By collecting and composting organic waste, students will learn about recycling and sustainability. The committee will also monitor the schools paper recycling project and report feedback to the school's Minister for the Environment. This provides peer education about environmental issues and waste management of school grounds. By establishing waste reduction targets, students will monitor and evaluate the progress and address issues raised by the committee.
To protect and improve bushland and animal habitat within the school grounds and over the fence on the council managed remnant forest. To introduce and integrate primary school students with community groups (Landcare, Dunecare and historical society) in an effort to share stewardship within the schools boundary and over the fence in the adjoining bushland.
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Minto Public School has been on this site since 1954, originally 1867. There is a recently restored historical train museum utilised by students throughout the local and surrounding communities. The adjoining school grounds will be formed into nature's classroom in support of these communities. The clientele is transient and socio-economically challenged with changing family structures and no or limited access to a natural environment. For this reason the need to create a structured nature's classroom was imperative; a place where students could gather information about natural and built environments and communicate some of the ways in which they interact with, and can care for, these environments. The school established an Environmental Team, students who were interested in learning about and caring for their environment. These students recruited four teachers and two members of the P&C. The team set about educating their peers and engaging whole school support through the importance of waste management, recycling, fauna and flora awareness. One of the foreseeable overall benefits is engaging NESB students in meaningful contextual tasks, which help them to develop English skills, awareness, knowledge and understanding of the Australian environment, transferable to the community.
Our school has maintained a commitment to environmental sustainability and education over the past 5 years. At the end of 2006 our 3 year SEMP targets were evaluated and we have now identified a significant project that has the potential to make a long term contribution to the natural heritage of our school and community. Through the establishment of an outdoor classroom and learning environment, and with the support of Pittwater Council's Coastal Environment Centre, we have identified a vital piece of bushland that forms one of the last remaining bush corridor links between the surrounding escarpment and coastal plains. Through our existing work in this area we have identified rare native flora and fauna species which are facing a number of environmental threats. Our school has a rich tradition in its connection to the local environment and the restoration and rehabilitation of this area is now a major focus of our environmental management plans. The purpose of our project is to restore and educate as well as promote and instil in our community a renewed sense of connection to 'our place' and its history, encompassing both Indigenous and European perspectives and impacts.
Nimbin Central School
Aquaponics, integrating sustainable practices in agriculture
Nimbin is a largely rural area with a growing intensive agriculture sector. The community is very conscious of sustainable practice and many intensive farming systems such as hydroponics and aquaculture are under intense scrutiny, in terms of their potential to cause pollution of ground water. This project follows a successful small scale pilot and it is aimed at delivering curriculum outcomes in Science classes from stage 3 to stage 6, as well as providing a facility for community members. The establishment of a demonstration biological filtration plant combining aquaculture and hydroponics will be used as an indication that wastes generated by one industry can be utilised as a resource by another, without the need to pollute groundwater.
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The youth and community garden project, to be run in partnership with Equilibrium Eco-Services Inc., aims to educate youth and the broader community about natural gardening principles using a site located within public school grounds: North Gosford Learning Centre which co-exists on a 2 hectare bushland site. We propose to create a diverse and natural garden/learning area that will be accessible to members of each local community as a demonstration of how to establish a garden based on the replication of natural ecosystems (that is, including elements such as diversity; succession; plant selection; habitat; mulch; and water sinks/ponds) and informed by Indigenous land management practices and cultural perspectives. The youth involved would range from about Year 5 to Year 8, and have behavioural issues and/or learning difficulties due to varying disabilities and social disadvantage. It is anticipated that the engagement in this activity will help these young people become engaged in other learning at school and start to connect them with their community. The proposed gardens will include various features such as indigenous food plants, ponds, and possum boxes as examples of how to encourage biodiversity in the area. The North Gosford Learning Centre site also includes an agricultural plot which will be developed into a demonstration of a natural farming system as part of the program.
Jayde Hickman was a student who was struck down by cancer. She battled with this disease until December 2006. She loved butterflies and they were released at her funeral. In honour of her memory the butterfly project was born - The Butterfly House. This would consist of an independent enclosure for the adult butterflies. There would also be an extensive supply of host plants in the form of sustainable plantations. One version could be a dome placed between the 2 hot/shade house frames which are in the agriculture plot now. Host plants could be kept in the hot/shade house area. The whole thing could be covered with shade cloth/sail type material. The dome would have some vegetation in it in the form of host plants to be used as egg collectors. A corner would be set up to allow the process of caterpillar growth to occur using cuttings of the host plants kept in water. Adults would be fed on sugar solutions and fruit. Life cycles could be completed in classrooms as well using the house and host plants as the base.
Oakville Public School
Oakville Public School indigenous learning area
In consultation with our local Aboriginal community, school community members, staff and students, Oakville Public School will regenerate a site, on school grounds, using local indigenous flora to create an outdoor learning area. The site is currently degraded with weed infestation and some introduced species. In its favour the site contains a number of established local native trees and plants. The site will be developed to include walking trails, signposting and native plants, including plants used by the local Aboriginal people (e.g. bush tucker plants) to provide the school and its community with improved identification and knowledge of local native flora and its use by local Indigenous people.
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Observatory Hill EEC has developed a successful in-school water conservation and wastewater management program called 'Watertight'. It is intended to add value to this program by including a series of water themed drama workshops to develop students' skills in drama and to encourage students to become water responsible citizens. By involving students in these drama workshops, it will enhance their understanding of the need to conserve water and manage wastewater in their schools. The product of these workshops, a water themed performance developed by the students, will be performed at various school and community events.
Old Guildford Public School
Biodiversity blitz: building a bush beauty playground barrier!
Old Guildford Public School's back playground, shared between all kindy to year 6 students during lesson breaks and weekly sporting activities, can be characterised as a fabulous play haven: a vast area of strong, green turf, protecting students from falls and tumbles during everyday fun, play and games. This great playground, however, is in full view of a large neighbouring car yard, offering students minimal privacy. Car repairs conducted on the other side of the wire fence create an unpleasant vista for students and staff. The school wishes to create "Bush Beauty", a native bush corridor along the fence to:
extend the school's biodiversity (increased bush and careful selection of plant species to attract native birds)
beautify the fenced area with flowering bushes to provide an appealing, natural barrier
increase student privacy through the bush corridor
enhance air quality with planted vegetation acting as carbon sinks.
Ourimbah Public School is situated in a unique environment, with established native gardens within the grounds and a rainforest adjoining the grounds. Ourimbah Public School plans to use an area of degraded land of approximately 150 square metres to create an outdoor learning resource. The name of this project is the Reconciliation bush tucker garden which will teach students biodiversity, water conservation and sustainability, as well as promoting Aboriginal culture. The site currently is partially covered with bitumen and has recently housed a demountable classroom. The project will allow Indigenous and non-Indigenous students to work in collaboration with local flora and fauna experts to plan a garden utilising plants that are native to the Ourimbah area. All plants will be expertly labelled with relevant information about the plant and its bush tucker use. In planning the garden the expertise of Aboriginal community members will be sought. Seating will provided for a class of 30 students to enhance the learning environment. Ourimbah Public School has a proud history in developing community based environmental programs, such as the highly-acknowledged and award-winning Rainforest Access Project (RAP).
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In keeping with Pretty Beach Primary School's continuous efforts to create an ecologically sustainable school, the Eco Schools grant will fund an organic vegetable garden, helping to close the school's ecologically sustainable loop. The vegetable garden will allow the children to see the final outcome of their already operational worm farms and compost bins. Whilst also generating a full and positive understanding of the origin of food, seasons, nutrition and teamwork.
This project aims to heighten the whole school community's awareness of the need to conserve and value our use and management of water. There is a global and local responsibility for all citizens to seriously examine their own personal attitudes towards this valuable resource. Through the eventual installation of water tanks and a drip watering system we hope to maintain our gardens and eliminate manual watering procedures. We envisage that through this project the students, staff and parents will also begin to value sound environmental planning. Through the use of focussed programming outcomes, staff professional development, engagement of our Year 6 Environmental Committee, involvement of our Grade Parent Organisation, and our Staff Environmental Committee, (all under the leadership of our Principal), we aim to implement strategies which will greatly improve present and future water management skills, knowledge, values and attitudes. Some immediate changes we expect are:
Plant propagation - two shade houses each 9m X 4m have not been utilised to their potential. These are to be brought online in 2007 to augment the existing three shade houses.
Waterwatch - the school has been involved in Streamwatch but the co-ordinating teacher has retired. There is a need to reinstate relevant activities. It is now under the name Waterwatch.
Aboriginality - murals and paintings exist within the school but there is no outdoor learning area. This will be across curriculum incorporating TAS, HSIE, Art and Science/Agriculture.
Recycling/waste reduction - continue our efforts to lessen our impact on the environment by reducing the volume of our waste stream.
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Our project aims at promoting awareness and understanding of environmental issues and sustainability. Having attended a Primary principal conference last year on ways schools can 'become greener', our student executive body got together and brainstormed ways that our school could achieve this. It was discovered that a lot of our water was being misused, that we needed 'greener areas' and increased use of recycling. These became the needs of the program. Installing a rain water tank, increasing green areas and the promotion of recycling in our school will model to our community that we are an environmentally conscious or aware school and hopefully this will see the children making changes at home and therefore making a difference in our world.
In 2007, St Finbarr's will unite its 200 students on one site for the first time in 18 years on its newly redeveloped school grounds just outside the town of Byron Bay. The recent construction of new classrooms and the amalgamation of children present create unique environmental issues and opportunities for the School. St Finbarr's is applying for funding to build an environment garden which will feature an outdoor classroom, waste reduction features (e.g. worm farm) and water conservation projects (water tank, native gardens etc). Developed in partnership with the local Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation the garden will be named the 'Jarjum Nungunbah' (meaning children's food - a name inspired by the local Arakwal elders as it represents the importance of sharing the learning experiences between the generations of older and younger people who have a shared history with this site). The school will use the opening of the garden to launch our new SEMP for the redeveloped site. Via SEMP the school will focus on developing environmental benchmarks, environmental action plans and rehabilitation projects. All these projects will form part of the HSIE component of the curriculum and will take place in the environment garden and outdoor classroom.
St Francis de Sales has recently been refurbished leaving our environmental area needing re-development. We are now deepening the environmental awareness of our students. So far, we have re-vegetated by specific planting of local native plants however this area needs further planting. Grant funding is needed to complete our sustainable ecosystem area by creating a habitat to sustain both flora and fauna and to preserve an ecosystem which will provide a learnscape for our students and community. It is planned to construct a frog/native fish pond surrounded by suitable local natives. In the surrounding trees, it is proposed to place bird and possum boxes as well as rocks and logs around the grounds to encourage blue-tongue lizards and smaller native creatures. Bush tucker indigenous plants will be included wherever possible. A small rainwater tank will be installed to water the native plants in the sustainable ecosystem learning area. Our aim is to create a sustainable ecosystem as a special environmental area in our school for all to experience and enjoy and also develop learning materials for our students to understand the systems involved.
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Our project is aimed at rediscovering a bush path and outdoor classroom that once existed at the bottom of our school grounds, but is now a weed infested thicket! We want to restore this area so that not just the end products but the journey towards it can be used as a meaningful learning experience in: identifying and assessing environmental problems (S2), the nature and function of local ecosystem (K1), how we impact on the environment (K2), resolving environmental problems (S4), adopting behaviours and practices that protect the environment (S5) and evaluating the success of our actions (S6). Within and HSIE/Science COGS survival/biodiversity theme, our Year 4/5 children will learn to identify current problems in this area of school, including weed recognition and how weeds alter native ecosystems. Children, teachers and parents will be involved in successive working bees to gradually clear and replant this area with local plant species which the children will research. The initial clearance, with observations of native fauna, will then teach sustainability of our local vegetation and we hope the creation of Bushcare groups which involves the local community to look after this area into the future. A commitment to act for the environment by supporting long-term solutions (V3).
Our project will cover the following areas:
establish an environmental group- a team of students from SRC or other primary students that are interested in creating a sensory garden to honour those who have passed, including our war memorial plaque and flags, using native plants. Teachers, parents and community members also had an input into the environment group
incorporate the sensory garden within a whole school plan with path leading to a covered performance outdoor area for school gatherings, assemblies e.g. Anzac Day
clear/weed and maintain and replant in existing native gardens around school
a sustainable vegetable and herb garden with produce used in our canteen using an environmentally sustainable water source (rain water tank set up in 2006)
worm farm, composting school organic waste.
The St Joseph's Koori Garden project will provide students with practical, authentic applied learning opportunities in order to develop a deeper appreciation of, and a sense of responsibility for the environment. The project will involve students in the planning, planting and ongoing care of an environmental area with a Koori theme. This area will consist of a garden of native and bush tucker plants to be used in ongoing environmental and Aboriginal studies and will include a wall mural with Aboriginal art as a backdrop to the area. Involvement in this project will allow the students to gain an understanding of the Aboriginal culture and the relationship between the Koori people and the environment with the aim for students to adopt these principles to their own environmental attitude. A rotating compost bin will also be a part of the environmental area. Students will learn about and take responsibility for the recycling of appropriate materials and use the compost to sustain the environmental area. The project will contribute towards the development of life long appreciation and understanding of the sustainability of the environment with which the students can adopt and apply to the wider community.
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The Pandanas project is a school link to an existing community environmental project. This was initiated in 2005 by a local consortium of community groups including Arakoon National Park, The Pandanas People (recipients of The CMA Best Indigenous Community Project Award 2007) and TAFE. The proposal plans to maintain links with these community networks. Little Bay, situated in the Arakoon National Park, has been effected by poor management practices which have resulted in poor water quality, changing stream flows, the introduction of carp and the erosion of stream banks. The Pandanas project will focus upon teaching the students and staff about Water Bug Surveys, water testing, and revegetation of Little Bay Creek with native species such as lilly pillies, tuckeroos, and lomandras. The aim is to monitor and improve the biodiversity of soil, vegetation and water.
St Joseph's Taree is a large primary school located on the outskirts of Taree. It has a significant Indigenous and NESB population. The school has large sporting fields, playgrounds and large expanses of unused, non-play grassed areas that require mowing and continual watering. There is a need in the school to foster the development of environmentally sustainable practices by providing opportunities for children to participate actively in improving the quality of their environment, and in doing so, to learn to value the wisdom, culture and traditions of their local Indigenous community. This project will form part of the whole school sustainable management plan, it will build links between the school and the local community, especially the Indigenous community, both in the planning/building stage and ongoing as a place for cultural activities; it will provide seating for a permanent outdoor learning/meeting space with a variety of curricular and extra-curricular uses; the planting, growing and harvesting of indigenous bush foods will also educate all the children in the benefits of sustainable land management, such as reduced water usage and increased biodiversity, in a practical way.
Our school has a considerable bushland area on our grounds. Some years ago work was done to create an outdoor learning area by parents, staff and students. This area is now overgrown and under-utilised. The P&C and SRC have identified the need to look at this area and improve it. Our 2006/8 SEMP also has this as a focus. The SRC have also identified reusing some of the waste generated at our school as compost as a way of being better environmental citizens. Staff plans to map curriculum areas to ensure that we use this area well and all classes K-6 have an environmental education focus during each year. G. Doret, Greenweb Officer from Sutherland Council has visited and helped us to identify what needs to be done in the bush area. We need to rid the areas of weeds, replant the area with native plants and clear pathways. Sutherland Council would provide us with native plants for this area. If the native plants grow successfully then this will minimise further weed infestations. The P&C are keen to involve parents and community members in carrying out clearing and weeding. This has the potential to be developed into an ongoing program supported by council. The development of a student plan to recycle compost will also help this initiative.
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The management project reinforces the purpose of the school Environmental Education Policy which is for students to acquire attitudes of care and concern for the environment as well as learning skills associated with environmental management. Students will establish a worm farm and compost heap to sustain a school vegetable garden. Students will learn about waste and the need for waste from people to be reduced. They will then establish a system to recycle food scraps at school to be used for a worm farm and compost heap. The project is of an on-going nature. Once the worm farm, composting system and vegetable patch have been established they will create many more learning opportunities as an outdoor classroom. Students will also be establishing systems for reducing other waste at school.
The Crescent School SSP
Our Indigenous garden - Aboriginal use of native flora
The Crescent School will design and implement a number of projects that have a strong emphasis on sustainability and biodiversity. The creation of a bush tucker garden is one of these projects and will provide the school and native fauna in the surrounding area with a high level of plant diversity, with some plants used for foods, medicines and other uses; as well as attracting native birds, insects and animals. The garden will illustrate the use made of native Australian plants by the Australian Aborigines and will have a backdrop of Aboriginal murals and paintings. Students will develop skills in investigating, researching, planning, participating and collaborating to make positive environmental actions and decisions. This and other projects have been fully supported by our School Parents and Citizens Association.
Our school is located in the Central West wheat/sheep belt of NSW. As a result of the land clearing associated with past and present agricultural practices the biodiversity of surrounding ecosystems has been severely eroded. By rehabilitating a badly degraded part of the school site to native bush, we intend to build a culture of appreciation to the benefits of protecting and improving remnant native bush around the school and community in general. This hopefully will change the perception of present and future farmers who have left this school.
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The Jannali High School
The integrated learning of sustainable practises in growing produce
A specific need for the learning of basic concepts across key learning areas has been identified in the junior years of Jannali High School. An alternative curriculum is being developed whereby students identified with specific needs will be able to integrate the organic growing of produce into their Science, Maths, PDHPE, Home Economics, Social Science and English subject areas. This will be accomplished by the planning, setting up and establishment of a no-dig garden and compost heaps with the watering via a new rainwater tank.
Thornton Public School
Thornton Public School native walkabout garden
Our school identified a need to establish an area within the school grounds for students to become involved in environmental events and programs including environmental field work, Tree day and environment related class activities. An area of bushland within the school grounds had recently been fenced and needed to be rehabilitated. In conjunction with an environmental consultant, this was identified as an appropriate area for the students, teachers and school community to develop a nature trail incorporating identification of native trees and planting of new trees, grasses and shrubs. Students will be able to learn the names of the trees and shrubs in their school grounds and identify other specimens within their own environment. They will develop an appreciation of their own environment as well as the work needed to revegetate natural landscapes.
Our SEMP (School Environmental Management Plan) aims to create an educational setting that encourages and models a way of living that can be sustained for future generations. We believe that by actively involving students, staff, parents and community members in conservation works, they gain an increased connection with their local environment. Research has clearly demonstrated that for people to be willing to protect their environment, they must first have a connection with it. This project would involve all members of the school community to revegetate our town's Botanical Gardens (which are situated on school grounds) with endemic flora to increase biodiversity in the school. It would also provide an educational setting for local community members and tourists who visit the school, about the endemic wildlife of Tibooburra.
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Tumut Public School
Awakening the Senses - the sense of smell
To establish along the Wynyard Street side of Tumut Public School a garden which is purposefully set out to provide a sensory experience in close proximity. These gardens once established would provide a valuable site that can be used for relaxation, stimulation and education of students, and in particular our students with special needs. The garden would be built around the sense of smell. The sense of smell is deeply emotional and associative. Scent in the garden can create a lasting sensory experience. A fragrance can evoke long buried memories. Crushing and smelling a plant part is also a classic method of plant recognition and identification. With thoughtful planning and designing, it is possible to incorporate into a garden the fragrances of many species including a range of edible plants which have strong fragrances. The children will have ownership of the project from conception to finalisation and include ongoing watering and maintenance.
Our school caters for students with severe intellectual disabilities with many students experiencing multiple disabilities. As many of our students have mobility and sensory issues we are endeavouring to develop a multi sensory approach to assist our curriculum delivery. Our school has very limited open space and vandalism has been an issue but recently we have installed security fencing around the school and are now in a position to utilise some areas of the grounds previously off limits to students. This project will develop several areas within the grounds to provide students with a variety of locations and enable them to develop aspects of our School Environmental Management Plan such as development of native plant rejuvenation area, outdoor learning space and vegetable garden to supplement the life skills cooking program.
Westport High School
Westport rainforest outdoor learning area
The need is to protect, preserve and educate our students and the wider community about the importance of conservation of Australian Rainforests. This project will make a difference because it will involve a cooperative effort between experts in Landcare and Australian %Rainforest and Native Fauna, students from the Westport Environment Team (WET) and teachers in the construction of the rainforest outdoor learning area (ROLA) rainforest nursery, web based learning materials and video wildlife monitoring. A direct connection back to the class room using engaging web based learning materials will be produced by Westport High students and teachers. The WET team will promote excursions and become guides to our ROLA and operate the rainforest nursery and wildlife monitoring cameras. The project will make a difference because it will be the cornerstone of a wildlife precinct near the middle of Port Macquarie. The school's surrounding natural environment contains key species like the eastern quoll, koalas and land mullet providing ideal opportunities for video observations. The project will promote Westport High as a centre of excellence in rainforest education improving its standing in the local community and whole school management of its natural environment creating a sustainable future.
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Page last updated: 27 February 2011