St Gregory the Great Primary School in Doncaster has been working hard over the past few years to renew their modules. So far, they have successfully renewed all modules except for Biodiversity, which is very close to completion. Looking ahead, the staff and parent sustainability team have developed a 10-year action plan to capture their ideas and visions for sustainability at the school.
In 2016, the grade 3 students learned about sustainable garden beds. After researching different options, they chose wicking beds for the school because these beds use less water, work well even in hot weather and weeds can’t creep in from underneath. A Permablitz was organised which resulted in about 20 volunteers visiting the school to install and fill the wicking beds. This was a great opportunity for the volunteers to learn about wicking beds and how they work.
In 2017, the school has been focusing on the Waste module and have made huge steps forward in waste management. They are continuing to recycle paper and cardboard, ink cartridges and donate useable items. This year, they have also introduced comingled recycling and green waste, provided free of charge by the local council. They have also started recycling scrap metal and e-waste such as unusable laptops, desktops and headphones.
During Term 2, the school Environment Captains and class Sustainability Monitors assisted with completing waste and litter audits across the school. Students worked together with parents and emptied out two classroom bins, a staffroom bin and an eating area bin.
Looking at the inside of bins gave the students a good understanding of what is being sent to landfill and if waste is being managed in the best ways possible. Students also undertook rubbish pickups and assessed litter found around the school.
They recorded their data and suggestions by completing Google surveys on school iPads. After completing the audits, the Sustainability Team came up with suggestions for how the school can manage waste better. These ideas were then shared with the whole school.
In the second half of 2017, the school has been focusing their attention on energy. To engage students in energy conservation practices, each class has been assigned a totem animal that is threatened by climate change. Posters featuring the animal are displayed in the classroom, along with facts about the animal and how it will be impacted by climate change. This is accompanied by steps on how to save energy in the classroom.
Medallions with QR codes have also been created. When students have time with the iPads, they can scan the QR code which will link to an audit that they can complete.
St Gregory the Great, is working hard to reduce energy consumption and waste to landfill. In 2018, they will complete the biodiversity module and focus their efforts on becoming a 5Star school.
Written by Nick Rickard, CERES Outreach Educator