Schools taking the lead on sustainability

​​​​​​​​Tasmanian students are showing a keen interest in sustainability. Maree Bakker from EPA Tasmania has been busy presenting cheques to local schools as part of the 2021 Sustainable Schools grant program administered by Keep Australia Beautiful (Tasmania).

The Sustainable Schools grants present an opportunity for schools in Tasmania to undertake projects that meet sustainability objectives. They are judged on the environmental programs they propose to implement in the classroom, the schoolyard, and the wider community.

Maree said “I presented cheques to Ogilvie High School, Huonville High School and the Huon Valley Homeschool Group.

“I enjoyed seeing how the funds will be used to provide facilities in schools to encourage the children to learn about and participate in sustainability, hands-on. This supports the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability and harnesses a lot of goodwill in both the teaching staff and students to do something positive for the environment."

Students in a school gym watching the presentation of a big cheque

EPA Tasmania's Maree Bakker presents a cheque to students at Huonville High School.
Photo: Keep Australia Beautiful

The cheques Maree presented were three of eleven Sustainable Schools grants that were provided by Keep Australia Beautiful (Tasmania).  DPIPWE helps fund Keep Australia Beautiful with $45,000 per annum, and in turn, Keep Australia Beautiful works to promote litter reduction and sustainability. Hydro Tasmania and Wrigleys also fund the school grants.

Maree was on the selection panel for the Sustainable Schools grants: there were 16 proposals for a total pool of $16,000, but only eleven could be funded. There was a broad range of applications, including building greenhouses, composting, creating habitat, establishing recycling facilities, making car litter bags, making beeswax wraps and worm farming.

Maree's favourite part of giving out the cheques was “discovering that Ogilvie High School students will have special, dedicated classes, starting next year on Sustainability". Ogilvie is particularly impressive: through a sustainability lens they cover ecology, systems thinking, career pathways, self-sufficiency, doughnut economics, healthy eating, food miles, organic food production, regenerative agriculture, soil science, plant anatomy/physiology, enterprise and landscape-scale resource management.

EPA Tasmania's Maree Bakker presenting a big cheque to staff and students at Ogilvie High

Sustainable Schools grant recipients at Ogilvie High
Photo: Keep Australia Beautiful

​​​Another cheque will be presented to Brighton Primary School on 21 September.

Brighton Primary School has been teaching gardening and cooking in regular garden classes and is now upgrading the composting system so students can observe first-hand the scientific process of decomposition. This will 'complete the circle' when they use that compost back on the garden, to grow the next lot of produce. This is 'circular economy' in action.

Sustainable Schools grant recipients in 2021 were:

  • Margate Primary School [south] with their wonderful worms project 
  • Mole Creek Primary School [north] with their focus on food production and waste 
  • Brighton Primary School [south] with their project on compost 
  • Ogilvie High School [south] - Greenhouse/sustainable growing 
  • Kingston High School [south] - Greenhouse/social enterprise  
  • Latrobe Primary School [northwest] - Spotlight on Sustainability  
  • Spreyton Primary School [northwest] - Herbs R Us  
  • Huonville High School [south] - Recycling hub  
  • Nixon St Primary School [northwest] - Care for the Planet /reduce rubbish  
  • Huon Valley Homeschoolers [south] - Car rubbish bags 
  • Meander Outdoor ED [north] - Whole school sustainability 

Keep Australia Beautiful (Tas) also conduct the Sustai​nable Communities - Tidy Towns Awards annually.

Published on: 2/09/2021