Indigenous artwprl sjpwomg the sea, land and sky.

Five ways schools across Australia are embracing environmental sustainability

To celebrate the language of our new whole school units of work Surviving and thriving: working towards a caring planet, we asked the teaching community to share the ways their school is embracing environmental sustainability for the chance to win two books about our changing natural world. 

Below are the fantastic winning responses! It’s encouraging to see schools from across Australia putting in the work every single day to model sustainable behaviours for their students – the future caretakers of our planet. 

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1— “Bourke St Public School have two green team members in every class.

We also have 3 x sorted rubbish bins in every room & playground (food scraps, general waste, paper & plastic recycling), solar panels on the new building, and bins for recycling old batteries, old phones, and old toothbrushes.”

- Rebecca Toltz, Bourke St Public School (NSW)

2— “Here is a snapshot of some of the things we do at Applecross to embed sustainable education across all year levels. 

We have a large chicken run, vegetable garden, newly established bush tucker garden and recycling bins in all classrooms and admin areas. Many classes choose sustainable topics throughout the year such as learning about bees and making bees wax lunch wraps, growing potato crops, running and monitoring no trash days at school, choosing books that focus on sustainable topics like Garbage Guts and Bin Chicken, making library displays on the 3R’s, using valuable resources from Waste Wise and Water Wise websites, Cool Australia and many more. 

Teachers at Applecross are passionate about sustainability and embed it in many learning areas throughout the year."

Vanessa Mann, Applecross Primary School (WA) 

3— “My school is embracing environmental sustainability through a variety of school-wide initiatives.

Our school leaders (Year 6 students) collect classroom recycling each week so it does not end up in landfill. Our student representative council put out bins and have created posters and awareness around recycling cans and bottles which are collected and recycled as part of the 10c system. 

Each classroom collects food scraps from fruit breaks which goes into our worm farms, the material is then used on our gardens. We also collect and correctly dispose of batteries each term.”

 Emma Streader, South Grafton Public School (NSW)

4— “Our school is working with the local Environmental Education Centre to build and install sustainable garden beds throughout the school for produce able to be used in the canteen or to be taken home by the students. 

We are using the down pipes for watering.

We are also collecting and cashing in any 10 cent recyclables to spend the money on plants for the garden beds.”

Lucy Evans, Coonabarabran Public School (NSW)

5— “Wow — what can I say about Subiaco’s drive to help save the planet?
Junior primary has set up a sustainable help group which re-establish tree planting around the Subiaco Area. They have a worm farm that is supplied all the school waste from lunch time and recess.

The Upper Primary students control the Recycling system at Lunch time. They are called the sustainable ambassadors. There is a roster that all year 5s can be part of and they man the bins at recess and lunch.  The students give up their play time to make sure that all waste is placed into the correct bin.  They have several smaller bins which students tell the students which small bin to place their waste.  They wash all containers that are recyclable before going into the bin. Then the waste is placed into the correct council bins. The green waste is given to the worms in junior primary and collected by our council to be transformed into compost pellets.

We also have the play pod. This consists of items that would normally be thrown out to help children create in the playground. The community donates, tyres, sheets, all sorts of interesting buildable pieces to help with creative play.

We also have a nature playground that is maintained by the year 5 students that volunteer, to clean up and around the large Morten Bay fig trees to maintain their life span for more decades. The leaf matter is collected and placed around the base of the trees.”

Linda Males, Subiaco Primary School (WA)


Looking for more resources that combine English, language and literacies with environmental sustainability? 

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