FOUR schools and two individuals have won recognition at the Mornington Peninsula Shire 2015 Mayoral Sustainability Awards.
Now in their 10th year, the awards acknowledge the achievements of students, teachers, student groups and school communities in working toward a sustainable future.
They were presented by Cr Graham Pittock, who said four outstanding schools were recognised in the student group category, which recognised groups that demonstrated leadership in sustainability practices.
Student group award winners were:
Mt Eliza Secondary College – years 7 and 8: Students with an interest in environmental sustainability spent one day a week working on sustainable practices on privately owned land and the adjoining waterway Balcombe Creek. Significant improvements were made to water quality, biodiversity, erosion and habitat wildlife, the shire citation stated.
“Students were taught how to affect habitat quality, encourage species on a landscape scale, build ‘frog bogs’, plant indigenous shrubs, grow non-GM food, make native bee ‘hotels’, build nesting boxes for threatened species, and plant butterfly and beneficial insect-attracting plants.
Western Port Secondary College – environment team: “The team and two teachers produced a 45-minute documentary, Mangroves, Microbes and Manna Gums, which involved more than 300 students. It showcased the school’s environmental sustainability achievements, and was scripted, filmed and edited by 30 students. Two teachers went to the college’s sister school in Malaysia and produced a doco about its environmental achievements and initiatives.
St Thomas More Primary School in Mt Eliza won a “Communities for Nature” grant, which was used to reduce fire risk at the school and construct an outdoor audio trail with bollards. The Enviro Trail has eight interactive audio bollards with a code connected to the school’s website that enables listeners to learn about a variety of environmental concepts. “The project has been successful in connecting the school community and encouraging better appreciation of the landscape and indigenous biodiversity of the school surrounds,” the citation stated.
Somerville Rise Primary School’s main focus for students was development of The Barn, which has large garden beds, vegie patches and chickens. It is open to all students and supervised by staff. “The school reclaimed unused and overgrown areas of the grounds by adding compost, worm juice and castings to enrich the soil. Staff and students have grown and harvested a variety of vegetables. Large compost bins are maintained by students, who have also created a sensory garden and fairy garden. The outdoor learning spaces have created an environment where students can satisfy their curiosity, develop creativity, and broaden their community and environmental spirit.”
Individual awards went to Angela Roach of St Joseph’s Primary School in Crib Point and Narelle Debenham of Mt Eliza Secondary College.
“Ms Roach is school horticulturist and support staff member. She has championed several projects including a wetland, a garden producing vegies used in the school cafe, a tranquil garden, a mangrove regeneration program to help protect Western Port, the ‘Kids Teaching Kids’ program, and a garden program for special needs students that provides home grown produce for a stall at the weekly assembly.”
“Ms Debenham, a teacher and nature educator of year 7 and 8 students at Mt Eliza secondary, has led a ‘Caring for Country’ program through indigenous education and development of a bush tucker ‘reconciliation garden’. It has internet connectivity, seats made of logs, tree trunk totem poles as garden barriers, ti-tree edging, bush tucker plants, burnt plant ID signs, a native bee ‘hotel’, and four outdoor artwork panels. The garden is a environmental haven for students.”