This year's ResourceSmart Schools Awards recognised Victorian schools for their efforts to boost sustainability and care for the environment.
Congratulations to all the winning schools for 'contributing to a better place' – the theme for this year's awards. The awards recognised schools across Victoria for inspiring sustainability in their communities, reducing the environmental impact and protecting the environment.
Carrum Primary School won the 2019 ResourceSmart School of the Year for their biodiversity promotion, recycling programs and solar energy initiatives.
A legacy continued
Carrum Primary School Assistant Principal says the school began to embrace sustainability in the 1970s thanks to teacher and avid environmentalist, Ron Kennett.
'We have had the task of carrying on his legacy,' Amanda says. 'It is a seamless, integral part of our school's identity.'
Waste not, want not
The school run a kitchen garden program where Year 3-6 tend to fruit, vegetables and plants. They also learn to cook and understand more about food.
'They are schooled in the value of seasonal produce, avoiding food miles, nutrition and cultural diversity within the program,' Amanda says.
'I like [the sustainability program] because it teaches us life skills that you can use in real life situations,' says student Tom.
Organic waste from the kitchen garden program becomes food for goats, chickens and other birds at the school. Caring for the animals is a favourite activity for some of the students. Student and Environment Captain Billy says caring for the animals made him love school more. 'I used to not have a lot to do at lunch, so I started working in the farm and developed a passion for it,' Billy says.
For student Sarah, the program has changed her opinion on birds. 'I enjoy watching the baby birds hatch and grow,' Sarah says. 'Caring for them is great.
Including the whole school community
The sustainability program is popular with parents too. Learning Specialist Marcus Mulcahy says parents help the school care for the gardens and animals on weekends and school holidays. They also volunteer at the kitchen garden and food sessions. 'They enjoy the partnership with staff and students in caring for our school,' Marcus says.
Marcus also says the school is committed to contributing sustainability to their local community. School student groups clean up local areas and do planting activities with the City of Kingston Rangers. The school shares their sustainability expertise by hosting and attending conferences. They also broadcast their knowledge through their own radio station Carrum Radio.
'Our students are aware that the school is part of a larger system, our society, and that partnerships benefit all concerned,' Marcus says.
ResourceSmart Schools Awards
Managed by Sustainability Victoria, the ResourceSmart Schools Awards is Victoria's largest sustainability awards program.
The awards are part of Sustainability Victoria's ResourceSmart Schools program where students learn about the importance of sustainability. 1,400 schools across the state collectively save over $25 million through energy, water and waste efficiencies and reduce more than 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
The Government is investing $2.8 million into the program to help schools incorporate sustainability into the curriculum and provide practical learning for students.
Nominate your school at ResourceSmart Awards.