EASL’s Learning for Sustainability Conference was held on Feb 24th 2023 at Box Hill Institute Lilydale Lakeside, giving educators an opportunity to re-connect and celebrate sustainability in person after two years of online conferences.
Proud Wurundjeri Woman, Julie Coombes, opened the conference with a Welcome to Country sharing pictures and stories of her ancestors. Our keynote speaker, Dr Ann Jones gave a fabulous presentation on the ‘A-Z of Australian Sounds’ . The delegates laughed along with the weird and wonderful sounds of our local environment and learned the importance of and how to help students connect to the sounds we hear every day and the nature around us.
In a highly energised, interactive rhythm session with Junkyard Beats, the audience joined in by drumming on buckets, clapping lids and shaking plastic bags, while thinking about the environment around us and our role within it. The morning showed us that sustainability can be fun, from exploring the weird and wonderful natural world to creating musical instruments from what would otherwise be trash.
Morning tea gave a chance for delegates to connect and chat over a cuppa and explore the exhibitor maze of fantastic sustainability providers.
The workshop sessions inspired and equipped delegates with skills, experiences and resources to promote and action change for sustainability in their local environment. From bush kinder and incorporating sustainability into early years, through to waste and recycling, biodiversity, energy, turning unused school space into productive food gardens, climate change education, exploring pathways to a sustainable future and caring for ourselves whilst caring for the environment, there was a workshop for everyone!
The lunch break provided another opportunity for connection, networking and discovering the amazing resources and opportunities provided by our sustainability exhibitors. Delegates were inspired and motivated by the diverse array of offerings and the many conversations had over lunch.
In the afternoon, the delegates gathered again in the auditorium, for one last musical experience with Project Earth Rock singing loud and proud about worms and composting, as professionals do!
We then watched a screening of Damon Gameau’s Regenerating Australia providing inspiration and hope for the future. Samuel Wines from Co-Labs Melbourne lead a panel discussion on regeneration with James McLennan from Farm My School, Sophie, a student from Mount Lilydale Mercy College, and Meg Moore, an educator from Eastwood Primary School and Deaf Facility. Cate McQuillen ended the panel session with Regenerating Australia style interviews, imagining it is now 2030 and talking about the feats they had achieved. We realised in that exercise, just how many inspirational and award winning individuals we were lucky to be in the presence of!
The Learning for Sustainability Conference demonstrated the importance of integrating fun into sustainability education and showcased perfectly how anyone can be a sustainability leader!