Kew East Primary School has been striving to save as much water as possible over the last years.
Initially we began by saving the overflow from the drinking taps by placing containers underneath each tap. These containers are now called ‘drip catchers.’ Next to each set of taps we have some watering cans that are filled with water from the drip catchers and the Environment Club members are responsible for maintaining these stations At this stage the watering cans are available for all students to use to water the gardens during recess and lunch time.
Since beginning our water saving, we have been very fortunate to receive several grants that have assisted us to purchase large water tanks. These water tanks placed in the Junior and Senior Yard and also in our front garden to collect the huge volume of water school roofs deflect. Some of the water tanks are connected to the student toilets in both the Junior and Senior buildings to minimise use of mains water.
This year it was an expectation that all Levels complete a unit based on Sustainability. This was a fantastic opportunity to explicitly teach the values of ‘rethink,’ ‘reuse,’ reduce’ and ‘recycle.’ Sustainability is now a unit built into the school’s Scope and Sequence. Level 1, 2 and 4 focused on waste. Level 3’s focus, ‘Here today, Gone Tomorrow?,’ was about sustainability issues in the local community, particularly cause and impacts of drought. Their unit was supported by a visit from City of Boroondara’s Sustainability Education Officer, Jenny Bicknell.
A year- long whole school community project has resulted from a Bendigo Bank Grant to foster Biodiversity .A working bee on an area of the school called the Rockery started us off. This area was very overgrown, consisting of non-native plants, including plants that were dependent on water. Upon reflection of this area, we decided to transform this part of our school into a Habitat Haven. During the Habitat Haven Working Bee we planted native trees, shrubs and grasses that were drought resistant and local to the area therefore had already adapted to the local conditions. Following the Working Bee, the Year 5 Leadership team have consistently maintained this area by using water from the ‘drink catches.’
In 2011 we will be recording our water usage data onto SETS and sharing our results at school assemblies and through the school newsletter. This will support us in further developing a whole school awareness of the water we are using in our school and assist students to continue to develop an understanding of the importance of saving water.