May 1 - 7, 2022: Issue 536


2022 Eco Schools Grant Program: 6 Great Ideas from local schools going ahead

At its Meeting this week Council awarded six local schools up to $2,000 each for sustainability programs in the 2022 Eco Schools Grant Program.

Council has committed $10,000 to the program to fund initiatives partly or fully in the fields of bush regeneration, carbon reduction, waste reduction, water reuse and reduction as well as sustainability education.

Mayor Michael Regan congratulated all the winners for their innovative programs.

“We always receive amazing applications under this program and it’s great to see so many schools wanting to get involved,” Mayor Regan said. 

“Well done to all the deserving recipients, we look forward to seeing your projects come to fruition.

“Good habits begin early, and we know kids really care about reducing waste and looking after their environment.

“This program helps local schools involve more students in sustainability programs and put into practice some of their great ideas of how to implement them in their own schools.”

This year’s recipients include:
  • The Beach School, Allambie Heights  $2,000
  • NBSC Freshwater Campus  $1,550
  • Balgowlah Heights Public School  $1,927
  • Maria Regina Primary School, Avalon  $2,000
  • Belrose Public School  $1,098
  • Killarney Heights High School  $1,425
Details of these really cool projects and their names are:

The Beach School: ''The Rain Garden Edible Food Forest''
The Rain Garden Edible Food Forest will feature vegetable growing gardens in water-conserving wicking beds, fruit trees, 180,000L of rainwater collected from 150m2 roof-space situated onsite alongside the garden, and other beneficial plant species for soil remediation and to provide habitat. The primary goal is to address Water Reuse and Reduction. This will be achieved by designing and implementing the project, as well as ongoing maintenance, tours and outdoor lessons with students and the community. Rainwater collected from the swim centre’s roof will enable us to effectively reuse stormwater and reduce the need to source from mains water. In a future of uncertain rainfall and increasing water restrictions using water efficiently to grow food is never more important. This project offers both students and the local community an example of how we can effectively use and conserve the use of rainwater in growing food in urban environments.

NBSC Freshwater Campus: ''The Ultimate Freshwater Campus Recycling Project''
I am extremely passionate about recycling and reducing waste. My goal is to increase the number of recycling bins in my beloved school as there are currently very few located around the school grounds. The recycling bins that are present are not easily accessible to students resulting in recyclable items ending up in the general waste bins. This grant will be used to invest in approximately 130 small recycling bins for hard and soft plastics as well and distribute them around the entire school including classrooms, corridors and eating areas. Currently, all waste streams are taken to one large bin, which is taken to landfill, so we will need a second large bin for all bottles and cans, and a third for crushable plastics. Students will be responsible for  taking smaller bins to the larger commercial bin on a selected day once a week.

Balgowlah Heights Public School:'' Waste less, Recycle more!''
A school-wide commitment to reducing and being accountable for waste collection and reduction with the involvement of school leaders, teachers, students, the P & C, the school canteen and parent volunteers. We would like to fund more recycling and compost bins to cover both campuses (East and West) on school grounds - we currently do not have enough bins.

Maria Regina Primary School Avalon: ''Learning Through Eco Gardens''
We wish to transform our garden area into an eco garden that students use for Science lessons to learn about sustainability through a 'garden to plate' program and see it working in action. Through this project children in every single grade will learn how to create a working ecosystem of living things - plants and animals. The eco garden will also include a composting system with worm farms that will educate the children in reducing waste while enhancing sustainability in the environment.

Belrose Public School: ''Waste Education''
We have set up a recycling system that, in theory, should work well. We have 5 bins at each ‘waste station’ across the school. Unfortunately, we are sorting through all bins weekly to remove contaminated items, separate R&E and move waste intended for landfill to recycling bins. This process is time consuming and not sustainable. Education is key in having all students and teachers participate correctly. Not all teachers have the knowledge, time or passion. We could outsource however to keep costs down we will do this internally. There is no point in continuing our waste campaign without continual education to both students and teachers. Funds would cover a casual 6 times per year so our key sustainability teacher can provide education to teachers and students on the importance of waste management. Education sessions are to take place each term plus 2 waste audits to be run each year.

Killarney Heights High School: ''Bush Tucker Garden''
We would love funding to establish a bush tucker garden on the school grounds. The Aboriginal Heritage Office and the Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group support this project to improve the school’s connection with country, work in an educational capacity with students and source plants specific to the Killarney heights region to foster bush regeneration of our local area. Aboriginal students will help design and establish the bush tucker garden, as will our year 8 gardening group- a targeted group that has run throughout 2021 for students who need support with social skills. These are facilitated by Killarney’s Aboriginal staff, our student support officer and KHHS gardener. The bush tucker garden will be used to strengthen connections between students and staff by its ongoing development in weekly groups across the term. It will further celebrate Aboriginal culture and history by providing information on how and why certain plants can be used.

the spring onions - cherry tomatoes 'tub' at our place
Cherry tomato vines - easy to grow, practically indestrucatble, and the perfect size for little mouths and great in salads