Heathcote High School's blooms celebrate 1,000th milestone

Students at Heathcote High School are making a new vegetable garden complete with worm farm, and in doing so will help to mark a milestone for a grassroots education grant program.

Sustainable vegetable garden

Since morphing into its current format, the Environmental Trust Eco Schools Grant program has reached over 1,000 NSW schools sharing in over $2.5 million of funding for school based environmental education initiatives.

Michael Wright, A/Chief Executive, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and Environmental Trust Secretary said the Sutherland Shire school’s new vegetable and herb garden is a prime example of how grant funding can lead to fun, hands-on environmental learning.

“Over 1,000 NSW schools have been awarded an Eco Schools grant, a terrific milestone, which has helped fund many native gardens, food gardens and energy efficiency, water conservation and Aboriginal cultural educational programs.

“By investing in curriculum-based environmental education we are helping to teach sustainability to students across NSW and bring environmental projects to life in schools,” Mr Wright said.

David Jackel, HSIE Teacher at Heathcote High School said students used their grant to build a food garden, part of an outdoor learning area project run by students.

“Students have planted vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. They have laid mulch, built four raised garden beds and recently set-up a composting tumbler and worm farm waste management system.

“This is the school’s first outdoor learning area and it’s a great teaching tool to help students learn about sustainability and waste management.  They are gaining a greater understanding and sense of care for their environment,” Mr Jackel said.

Mr Wright said the Eco Schools grant milestone includes funding for food gardens in over 200 schools across the state.

“The Eco Schools grant program has also funded over 70 projects specifically focused on children with special needs.

“The environmental projects provide practical activities, such as tree planting, native bird surveys, establishing composting and worm farm systems, frog ponds, and learning about bush tucker.”

The Eco Schools program has strong links to the school curriculum and allows some funding to be allocated towards teacher development to increase their capacity to deliver environmental education.

Visit our website to see a list of successful projects and project summaries from other Eco Schools grant programs