Students reap rewards for being tidy

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STUDENTS and teachers at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Crib Point show the certificates they received for their entries in this year’s Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities competition. Picture: Yanni

TAKING part in the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities competition was a “really positive experience” for students at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Crib Point.

The awards aim to “encourage, motivate and celebrate sustainability achievements of rural and regional communities across Australia”. Each year regional and state winners are announced between August and October.

The school’s grade 3/4s Sea is my Best Friend project was a finalist in the Active Schools category. It aimed to teach and connect them to the local environment, Jacks and Woolleys Beaches and nature reserves.

Students learned about Western Port Bay being a Ramsar site and its importance for migratory birds. They connected with conservation groups, including the Western Port Biosphere, and a puppeteer who taught them how to make puppets to tell stories.

From this, walks down to the beach, classroom research, and using further information from rangers, they made puppets using recycled materials of the migratory shorebirds and produced videos with their puppets highlighting the importance of caring for and conserving the ecosystem.

The Sustainability Team of grade 5/6 students won the Waste Management, Resource Recovery and Litter Management categories.

They worked to improve the school’s waste management and resource recovery systems, and campaigned through the newsletter and assemblies to encourage behavioural change around the packaging of lunches with a “nude food” initiative.

Waste and litter audits led to solutions to cope with the main types of waste at the school. Solutions included recycling soft plastics, collecting bread tags to make wheelchairs, bottle tops for prosthetic arms, old mobile phones for the Jane Goodall Foundation, old Textas, toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes for Terracycle. Food scraps were fed to chooks or composted, and co-mingled recycling offered to Cleanaway for hard plastics, paper, cardboard, and cans.

Paper waste was shredded for chicken bedding, with the old bedding composted for the vegetable garden.

The students also made sustainable packaging for lunches, such as beeswax wraps, bento boxes, including compartments, a metal straw, bowl covers, and Boomerang and produce bags for the supermarket.

“Their work helped to highlight the incredible work that’s taken place this year in the middle and senior years – work that ordinarily might go on behind the scenes and not receive the recognition it deserves,” teacher Lucy Kyriacou said.

First published in the Western Port Times – 27 November 2019

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