Western Port Secondary College has been involved in the Sustainable Schools program for five years and is now transitioning to ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic.
Our aim has been to increase environmental awareness and to model environmental, social and economic sustainability, bring families and community together and teach core values and practical skills.
We became involved in sustainability when we were invited to be one of the schools which formed part of a sustainable schools trail on the Mornington Peninsula which showcased sustainability projects to the community.
We have worked closely with CERES and local consultants over the last five years to become the first state secondary school to be fully accredited as a five star Sustainable School. We are now renewing our accreditation, with the help of CERES, Sustainability Victoria and Mornington Peninsula Waste Management Group under the new umbrella of ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic and aim to become a 5Star school once more.
Best practice in terms of sustainability is being cultivated across all aspects of the school and is reflected in the curriculum. Our efforts, in terms of sustainability, connect with Western Port’s commitment to building community and social cohesion in the broader sense and provides opportunities for inclusion and cultural enrichment.
We have been a model for other schools in taking steps to avert climate change and are regularly contacted and visited for advice as other schools begin their journey to sustainability. Both students and staff have presented at conferences and forums on environmental sustainability.
Some of the Projects Undertaken in our Outdoor Classroom
• Archway entrance
• The snake path-disability access
• Recycled furniture
• Adobe Pizza Oven
• Mosaic water features
• Propagation area
• Frog bog and habitat area
• Hilton hen house, with rotating vegetable gardens
• Tiered seating
• Medieval medicinal garden-
• Giant chess board and pieces
• Memorial garden
• Chook breeding pens
• Berry patch
• Herb spiral
Most of our projects are student driven, and we pride ourselves in motivating the students to plan and execute projects. We have an in-school grant system where by students learn the process of applying for grants to help fund their projects.
We encourage our students to participate in professional development opportunities outside the college, to help teach them the skills of public speaking and school promotion. We have both junior and senior environment captains, who help drive the environmental projects within the school, as well as a Green Team who help to maintain the gardens. We believe in our students ability to become life long learners, responsible citizens and happy adults. We know at Western port Secondary College that our world is in safe hands.
• ResourceSmart School of the Year 2008
• Finalist in the DEECD Curriculum Innovation Awards
• ABC School Garden Award
• Commendation in the Order of Australia
• Contented Chook Award (Earth Garden Magazine)
• Tidy Towns
• Mayoral Sustainability Award for School Community – Mornington Peninsula Shire
• Premiers Sustainability Award 2009
• Order of Australia’s Schools Award
• Tidy Towns Sustainability Award
On Tuesday March 26th Ms Lewis, Ms Smith, Luke Reardon and Niam O’Toole attended the Southern Metropolitan Region’s ‘Sustainability Fair’ at Bentleigh Secondary College. As Western Port Secondary College is a Mentor School to other schools starting on their journey to 5 Star sustainability accreditation, Luke and Niam had the responsibility of running a short workshop for other students. The boys ran a ‘hands on’ activity, teaching 2 groups of students how to make a layered compost. As well they toured Bentleigh Secondary College’s Environmental initiatives which included an urban forest and billabong.
The group also had fruitful discussions with organisations such as Melbourne Water, Sustainability Victoria, CERES Environment Park, the Schools Water Efficiency Program, Going Green Solutions, Cool Australia and the Gould League.
At the end of the conference each school had to make a pledge to carry out one environmental action. Our pledge is to “Reduce our waste to landfill”. Niam and Luke presented a report and recommendations to the Year 9 students as part of the environmental theme in Term Two.