Local government working with schools

Local government plays a pivotal role in supporting to schools to develop and deliver quality sustainability education programs in schools. Ten ways to work with schools (PDF 598KB) was developed by the Urban Sustainability Support Alliance to showcase how local councils can partner with school to achieve environmental and educational outcomes for students.

Not sure of your local council? You can search by suburb on the Division of Local Goverment's website, just go to the Local Council Search box. It is worth checking out what you local council has on offer to schools, some councils and programs are listed below.

Sydney metropolitan

Bankstown City Council - show details

Bankstown City Council logo

Bankstown City Council provides the following services for schools:

  • kNow Waste Schools Project™
  • Free native plants
  • sustainable garden competition (schools category)
  • BSEEN (Bankstown Schools Environmental Education Network)
  • visit the Bankstown City Council website.

Blacktown Council - show details

Blacktown City Council logo

Blacktown City Council provides the following services for schools:

  • Eco-Active Schools Grant Program
  • Environment expo and catchment management days
  • Visit their website.

City of Canada Bay - show details

Canada Bay Council logo

Canada Bay Council supports the following:

  • 'kNow' Waste program
  • support for Schools Tree Day
  • The Sustainable Schools Network established in March 2012 (4 meetings per year & 4 newsletters per year)
  • An Annual Small Environmental Grants for schools program offering up to 6 grants per round
  • The Youth in Action forum for senior students
  • Visit the City of Canada Bay Council website.

City of Canterbury - show details

The City of Canterbury Sustainable Schools Program aims to raise environmental awareness amongst students and teachers at both primary and high schools in the Canterbury local government area. The program includes:
  • quarterly teachers environmental network meetings
  • quarterly newsletter
  • school program awards
  • annual Council funded grants

For further information, please visit the City of Canterbury website.

Hawkesbury City Council - show details

Hawkesbury City Council supports schools by providing:

  • Primary school educational presentations
  • School Environmental Management Plans with a waste focus to high schools (WaSIP funded)
  • Free trees for local eligible schools

Visit the Hawkesbury City Council website.

The Hills Shire Council - show details

The Hills Shire Council logo

The Hills Shire Council provides the following services for schools:

  • in-school workshops
  • kNOw waste school education program for preschools and secondary schools
  • Keep Australia Beautiful Enviromentors (formerly Waste Watchers) environmental education program for primary schools
  • environment expo/excursions
  • small grants funding (green grants)
  • competitions
  • assistance running special environment day events
  • Schools Green Network
  • free native plants (depending on resources at time of request)
  • resources for borrowing including a range of workbooks for all primary stages
  • visit their website or phone 9843 0555 for further information.

Hornsby Council - show details

Hornsby Council logo

Hornsby Shire Council supports schools by providing:

  • environmental workshops and activities
  • "Ready Set Grow program" aimed at encouraging and supporting the creation of sustainable school fruite and vegetable gardens where concepts such as composting, consumption and recycling are introduced.
  • in-school talks on water, waste and companion pets
  • financial and in-kind asssistance to schools participating in Streamwatch.

Visit the Hornsby Shire Council website.

Ku-ring-gai Council - show details

Ku-ring-gai Council provides the following support to schools:

  • curriculum related environmental excursions to the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden
  • advice on planning and designing school organic vegetable gardens
  • incursions and talks on environmental sustainability and local natural environments
  • civics class excursions - water conservation
  • composting, worm farm, recycling and waste reduction workshops

Visit Ku-ring-gai Council website.

Lane Cove Council - show details

Lane Cove Council supports schools by providing:

  • free compost bins and worm farms (2 per school)
  • Eco Snapshot Day conducted by SCRAP (covers five environmental audits)
  • sustainability small grants program of up to $2000 for eligible community groups, including P&C's (funding rounds every six months).


Visit the Lane Cove Council website.

Contact Lane Cove Council.

Leichhardt Municipal Council - show details

Leichhardt Municipal Council supports schools through:

  • Tours of the Whites Creek wetland and community garden, with an emphasis on local history, biodiversity, plant life and ecosystems
  • Workshops on composting, worm farming and kitchen gardening
  • A film competition inviting local schools to make films with a sustainability/environmental theme

For further information visit the Leichhardt Municipal Council website.

Liverpool City Council - show details

Liverpool City Council logo

Liverpool City Council supports schools by providing:

  • School Waste Minimisation Program
  • Composting, worm farming, recycling and waste reduction activities
  • Free compost bin and worm farms (2 per school).

Green Grants Program - now open for the 2012-2013 period. The program is offered to all schools and local community groups in the Liverpool local government area. If you have a fantastic ideas and would like to improve our local environment, Liverpool City Council is offering small grants to help you get started! The Green Grants Program aims to support community initiatives that address environmental issues such as:

  • Waste minimisation or recycling
  • Sustainable water use
  • Saving energy or greenhouse gas emissions
  • improving local biodiversity
  • sustainable gardening including vegetable gardens
  • education for sustainable living programs.

For all enquiries, phone Council's Sustainablility Education Officer on (02) 9821 7747 or visit the Liverpool City Council website.

Manly Council - show details

Manly Council supports schools by providing:

  • sustainable schools grant program (up to $2000/school)
  • in-school education and workshops
  • advice on grounds management and school vege gardens
  • assistance with waste, energy and water audits.

Visit the Manly Council website.

Marrickville Council - show details

Marrickville Council logo

Marrickville Council provides support to schools by providing:

  • Our Place Environment Network for teachers - a forum for environmental and sustainability education issues.
  • school visits, teacher workshops and information on request.
  • curriculum related environmental workshops for both primary and high schools.
  • Marrickville Council Sustainabiltiy Grants Program

Visit the Marrickville Council website.

North Sydney Council - show details

North Sydney Council logo

North Sydney Council supports schools by providing:

  • annual funding to local schools (Primary and Secondary), preschools and childcare centres through the Green Schools Grants. A grant opportunity for environmental and sustainability related projects.
  • Sustainability Educators North Sydney (SENS), a network to build the capacity of teachers, students and school environment committees in North Sydney LGA.

Visit North Sydney Council website.

Parramatta City Council - show details

Parramatta City Council provides support to schools by:

  • Free waste incursions tailored to the school curriculum
  • Environmental education grants
  • Composting and worm farm workshops
  • Free fortnightly recycling collection
  • Email updates to registered teachers
  • EnviroSchools Network meetings for primary and secondary teachers, other educators, P&C and interested parents in the Parramatta LGA. Visit the Environmental Networks page for meeting details.

For more information visit the Parramatta City Council website, or contact the Environmental Education Officer at enviroed@parracity.nsw.gov.au or on 9806 5589

Penrith City Council - show details

Penrith City Council provides the following support and services to schools:

  • In-school 3 bin waste education workshops
  • Composting and worm farming workshops
  • Excursions of Waste and Recycling facilities, including SAWT Organics Composting, Smithfield Recycling Facility and Eastern Creek Landfill
  • EnviroAdventures
  • Sustainable Schools Network
  • National Tree Day activities
  • Interactive Stormwater workshop and drain stencilling
  • School Stormwater Audit
  • Catchment Tours
  • Regional Catchment Field Day

For more information, please contact Penrith City Council on (02) 4732 7777.

Visit the Penrith City Council website.

Pittwater Council - show details

Pittwater Council supports schools by providing the following services.

  • waste audits
  • recycling and worm farm workshops
  • Ready, Set, Grow program aimed at encouraging and supporting the creation of sustainable school fruit and vegetable gardens in schools, where concepts such as composting, consumption and recycling are introduced.
  • new coloured bin lids to fit existing bins so recycling stations can be set up.

Please visit Pittwater Council website.

City of Ryde Council - show details

City of Ryde Council logo

City of Ryde Council facilitates the Ryde Environmental Education Network (REEN). The REEN meets each term and offers:

  • a forum where teachers can discuss environmental initiatives
  • a link between Council and schools
  • an opportunity to share learning and experiences relating to sustainable schools and environmental education
  • professional development opportunities
  • practical ideas to integrate environmental education into the curriculum and school operations
  • efficient ways to seek resources
  • partnership opportunities between schools and other organisations
  • student workshops and presentations

For further information visit the Ryde Environmental Education Network website

City of Sydney - show details

City of Sydney Council logo

The City of Sydney Council supports schools through:

Waverley Council - show details

Waverley Council logo

Waverley Council supports schools by providing:

  • assistance to schools when implementing environmental education initiatives and environmental projects.
  • information for schools on council programs, grants and recycling.
  • Eastern Suburbs Sustainable Schools Network information.

Visit the Waverley Council website for further information.

Willoughby Council - show details

Willoughby Council logo

Willoughby Council supports schools by providing:

  • Climate Clever energy and water assessments for schools
  • School Environmental Management Plan workshops
  • composting, worm farm, recycling and waste reduction workshops
  • Ready Set Grow Sustainable Vegetable Garden Programme (in conjunction with NSW Health)
  • guided bushwalks and environmental awareness talks
  • free mulch for working bees

Visit the Willoughby Council website.

Woollahra Municipal Council - show details

Woollahra Municipal Council logo

Woollahra Municipal Council provides support to schools by:

  • School visits, teacher workshops and information on request
  • Annual Environmental Grants of up to $1000 available
  • Eastern Suburbs Sustainable Schools Network (ESSSN) information
  • Schools Tree Day Native Garden competition
  • Advice on planning and designing school vegetable gardens
  • Free compost and worm farms for schools and workshops on how to use them.

Visit the Woollahra Municipal Council website.

Regional NSW

Cessnock City Council - show details

Cessnock City Council logo

Cessnock City Council supports schools through:

  • four newsletters per year with information for schools
  • assistance in undertaking environmental audits
  • assistance with the preparation of grant applications
  • school environmental grants program
  • trees for National Tree Day

Visit the Cessnock City Council website.

Gosford City Council - show details

Gosford City Council logo

Gosford City Council supports schools through:

  • Greenhouse Program - primary school environment theme based program. Comprehensive resource folder, access to school and student based competitions, and some funding.
  • Water Education Programs - 3 different programs - preschool, primary and secondary levels.
  • Waste Education
  • Water Saving in Schools Grant - $5,000 grants available for water saving initiatives in schools.
  • Assistance with special environment days.
  • 4 newsletters per year
  • Free trees - schools eligible to ask for up to 100 tubestock natives each year.
Visit the Gosford City Council website.

Lake Macquarie City Council - show details

Lake Macquarie City Council logo

Lake Macquarie City Council supports schools through:

  • Schools Environment Awards Program
  • School Sustainablity Survey
  • Environmental sustainability grants program -funding assistance of up to $3,000 per year for
    environmental projects or activities
  • Schools sustainability workshops - in school environmental sustainability sessions delivered by Council
  • Green Access Poster - wall poster listing resources, activities, events and contacts for environmental education in the Lower Hunter
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Sustainable Neighbourhoods Program
  • Catchment Activity Model (CAM)
  • Junior Landcare
  • Various resources including brochures, fact sheets, posters and activity booklets on topics such as water, waste, energy and biodiversity.

Visit the Lake Macquarie City Council website.

Port Stephens Council - show details

Port Stephens Council logo

Port Stephens Council supports schools through:

  • Schools Environmental Awards.
  • Schools Environmental Grants - funding assistance up to $300 per year for environmental related projects or activities.
  • Schools Environmental Newsletter - beginning of each term
  • Green Access Poster - wall poster listing resources, activities, events and contacts for environmental education in the Lower Hunter.
  • Waste Education resources and products - such as fact sheets, brochures, recycling bins and compost bins.
  • National Tree Day activities - free native plants for schools, as well as hosting tree planting days at various locations.
  • Water Quality monitoring
  • Tools Trailer - a trailer full of tools that can be borrowed when schools are undertaking tree planting and working bee activities.
Visit the Port Stephens Council website.

Shellharbour City Council - show details

Shellharbour City Council logo

Shellharbour City Council supports schools through:

Free plants

Schools in the Shellharbour local government area can have 25 free plants each financial year from Council's Wholesale Nursery. Call 42216191 for enquiries. The nursery is located at 132 Industrial Road, Oak Flats (enter by River Oak Place) from 7:30am until 3:45pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays). Schools can also write a simple letter to Council to request a donation of quality leaf-wood mulch. Other community groups (Scouts, Churches etc) can also apply to receive 25 free plants by also sending a quick letter to Council.

Free shredded garden waste

Dunmore Recycling and Waste Disposal Depot has compost available free to Shellharbour residents and schools. Bring a trailer and load it yourself for free or pay $6 to have it loaded for you. The compost is tested to Australian Standards and is suitable for all garden uses. Compost is available at the Dunmore waste depot on Buckleys Road, Dunmore, from 7:30am- 3:30pm weekdays and 8am - 3:30pm weekends and public holidays.

"Recycle Right!" and "Food Waste - It's as easy as ABC"

Both programs are suited to Stage 3 students with a focus on the principles of recycling, both dry recyclables and food waste. These programs will highlight:

  • the environmental benefits of recycling and waste avoidance.
  • what items can and can't be placed in your recylcing bin.
  • what items can and can't be composted or put into a worm farm.
  • other environmentally friendly ways of reducing waste.

The sessions are filled with information, stories, games and songs. Therefore they are educational, hands-on and fun! The deliver of these programs can be requested at any time.

National Recycling Week - "Recyschool"

Over the past two years, as part of National Recycling Week (12 November - 18 November, 2012), Council has been running an interschool challenge called "Recyschool". This program aims to improve current recycling rates in our primary schools, increase awareness about the value of recycling, while reducing waste to landfill. It focuses on the implementation and continued participation in recycling with the playgrounds of local schools. The program involves the following components:

  • an education session presented by the Council detailing what can and can't be recycled.
  • an audit of playground garbage bins prior to the challenge.
  • an audit during Nation Recycling Week, the results of which are used to determine the winner.

Earthworks course

We also offer an abridged version of our Earthworks Course which is usually aimed at assisting schools with the set up of worm farms and composting bins and providing associated education strategies.

Clean Up Australia Day

This great annual event is held on the first Sunday of March each year. Shellharbour City Council encourages the schools and the broader community to participate in this event. Council provides clean up bags to schools and community groups to assist in the event.

National Tree Day

In early July, Bushcare groups team up with school students to plant about 1200 plants at local reserves - Blackbutt Reserve, Stony Range or Oakey Creek. All plants and tools are provided, and there is a guided walk through the reserve. This is followed by community tree plantings at the end of July, hosted by the local Bushcare groups.

Local Government Week

To celebrate Local Government Week in August, primary and high school students are invited to Blackbutt Reserve for a taste of what Council has to offer. Students will take part in a range of fun, hands-on, age-appropriate workshops linked to the current curriculum. These activities explore Council's waste services (recycling trucks, worm farming workshops, compost creature activities), natural area management (bush tucker walks, nest box building, stormwater activities), Aboriginal culture heritage, library activities, the Tongarra Museum, citizenship activities and more.

Water Week

Council offers in-school workshops to celebrate Water Week in late October. Students will learn about stormwater and their local catchment area.

Small Environmental Project Fund

Shellharbour City Council offers funding to assist and empower local community groups, organisations and education institutions to undertake environmental projects in the Shellharbour Local Government Area.

Educational resources

Council has a range of brochures, booklets and factsheets on local biodiversity, catchment maps, weeds, energy conservation and more, both in print form and on the website. Shellharbour libraries are a treasure trove of books for educating for sustainablity, and also have energy saving kits with a power meter for loan.

Community workshops

Council's community workshops are a great opportunity for teachers to have fun and learn about aspects of sustainablity and biodiversity (permaculture, rock platform walks, native birds and more!) that are great to bring back to the classroom. To subscibe email sustainability@shellharbour.nsw.gov.au. To see past editions visit the Council's website.

For more information about any of these programs visit the Shellharbour City Council website or phone: (02) 4221 6111

Wollongong City Council - show details

Wollongong City Council logo

Wollongong City Council supports schools through:

  • Waste-wise school competition There are two primary school competitions open to students each year. Topics relate to a range of recycling and waste management challenges. There is approximately $1000 worth of prizes up for grabs for the winning school and student, which have included books, teacher resource packs, worm farms, theatre performances for your school, cash towards implementing a waste wise initiative and more.
  • Schools Environmental Improvement Competition This program, with cash awards sponsored by BlueScope Steel, aims to foster the development of environmental management plans for schools and to implement innovative environmental improvement strategies. The program is broken into a number of categories to encourage participation.
  • World Environment Day Year 5 and 6 students are invited to Wollongong Botanic Garden for this annual environmental education event. There are 25 environmental education workshops linked to the current environmental curriculum.
  • The Spring Clean Up Program Open to volunteer community groups and schools to participate in removing rubbish and litter that has accumulated in public areas such as parks, creeks and beachfront reserves. The program encourages participants to "take the next step" and remove invasive weeds such as Bitou Bush and lantana as they clean the area selected and plant native seedlings.
  • Clean up Australia Day This great annual event is on the first Sunday of March. Wollongong City Council encourages the schools and the broader community to participate and clean up during the first weekend in March. Council provides clean up bags to schools and community groups to assist in the event.
  • Community workshops Council's community workshops are a great opportunity for teachers to have fun and learn about aspects of sustainability (worm farming, chicken keeping and more!) that are great to bring back to the classroom. The Sustainable Wollongong newsletter also lists comunity events. To subscribe email sustainablity@wollongong.nsw.gov.au
  • Wollongong Botanic Gardens Environmental Education at the Discovery Centre

    The team at the Discovery Centre are based in the beautiful Wollongong Botanic Garden and offer school excursions with a range of activities to suit all school based learning from early childhood, K-10. Activities include Senses working overtime, Magic Leaf Hunt, Growing Plants from Seeds, Wiggly Worms and compost creatures, Life in the Aquatic Environment, Wet and Dry Environments, The Journey of a water Drop, No Dig Gardening and growing herbs, Aboriginal plant uses, Art in the Environment, State and National Parks...just to name a few. All activities for early childhood to years 6 are held in the Botanic Gardens utilising our stunning garden resources such as the rainforest and the new Towri Bush Tucker Garden. Activities for older students from 7-10 are held in the garden and in the Botanic Gardens Annexes of Mt Keira and Puckeys Estate. Further information can be obtained from the Schools program page on the Wollongong Botanic Gardens website.

Wyong Shire Council - show details

Wyong Shire Council logo

Wyong Shire Council supports schools through a variety of programs:

  • Water Education in Preschools - A multi-faceted water education program for early childhood centres, teachers, children and their families that focuses on saving water and the importance of water in our lives.
  • Watertight - Incursion program for primary school students raising awareness of water conservation and management.
  • Primary Schools Environmental Awards Program - an annual program which offers opportunities for students to become involved in fun, innovative and environmentally sustainable projects.
  • BluePlanet - a water and environmental education website for high school students, linking directly to the NSW Science, Geography, Agriculture and Marine Studies syllabuses. Visit BluePlanet.
  • Waste Education- a waste education officer can visit your preschool, primary or high school to discuss recycling and waste management. Students will learn about the recycling process and about the many environmental benefits associated with recycling.
  • National Tree Day - Council provides schools with seedlings to plant on Schools National Tree Day.
  • Clean Up Australia Day - Council provides schools with bags and gloves for Schools Clean Up Australia Day. Council can collect rubbish if required.
  • Compost Bins and Worms Farms - Council sells compost bins and worm farms to schools and the local community, available from Council Chambers.
  • Additional support for school based environmental projects.
Page last updated: 27 February 2015