Biodiversity, An STM Learning Story
In 2021, we focused on our Biodiversity and Waste modules and have been working towards achieving our 2nd star. Prior to completing the Biodiversity module, our school’s Habitat Quality Assessment Score was 78/100. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by natural bushland featuring countless native plant species and have Kackeraboite Creek flowing through our environmental trail. Through conducting a Biodiversity audit with our Green Team and Year 6 Sustainability leaders, we identified areas we could focus on to improve the biodiversity of our school.
To improve biodiversity at our school we introduced a community vegetable garden and insect hotels to encourage pollinating insects and birds to visit our grounds, to engage students in learning about the environment, improve wellbeing and allow students to connect with nature. A big focus of our vegetable gardens was on engaging the families in our school community in its development through working bees. Remote learning posed a few challenges, however after many delays we have established both our community vegetable gardens and insect hotels. We were also fortunate enough to receive two grants, one from Junior Landcare and the other from the IEU, to help fund this project. A great help to get us started!
Student voice has been an important element of our community garden. Students were involved in the design process of our raised garden beds in STEM specialist classes and regularly make decisions about what should be planted after conducting research in our newly introduced Outdoor Learning specialist program. Our Year 3/4 students made interesting discoveries about what plants need to thrive; including the types of supports, how far apart they should be planted and the suitable climates. Students have particularly enjoyed harvesting, cooking and also selling the vegetables they have grown.
At STM we weave in sustainability learning across the curriculum. In 2021, our Year 3/4 students had a big focus on Biodiversity, inquiring into local native animal species and engaged in the Design Thinking process to design something that would make our outdoor learning space ‘more awesome’, whilst supporting the natural community of native species.
We were proud to be invited to share our achievements as part of the School Spotlight for a MACS RSS workshop towards the end of 2021. Some of our passionate Year 6 Sustainability leaders and 3/4 students did an incredible job of articulating their Sustainability learning and sharing the initiatives and projects they have been involved in.
The programs that we have implemented at school through completing the ResourceSmart Schools Biodiversity Module are making a difference on a whole school scale with an improvement in the school’s native species and productive gardens since commencing the module. ResourceSmart Schools has guided our practices in the areas of curriculum, campus, culture and community and continues to provide clear goals moving forward.
We have recently completed our Biodiversity audit for 2022. We have identified the need to focus on soil management, mulch cover and weed management. We look forward to sharing our future work in this space!