School Stories

Blackburn High School

On 29th July, 40 students and teachers at Blackburn High School braved the chilly wind on Plant A Tree Day to plant out two areas in the school which students had chosen as spaces needing some love – the first, a pretty little sitting area at the top of an oval, and the second, a steep slope deemed too unsafe to mow. With over 150 shrubs and 3 mature banksias donated by Whitehorse City Council and the help of Tree Education Officer Belinda Moody, our two spaces were quickly transformed into potential habitats for local fauna. Students learnt new skills and techniques for planting different sized plants and made discoveries of weird and wonderful things laying beneath the soil of our school. It was a great day offering teachers and students an opportunity to experience a greater connection to each other and their surroundings. We look forward to more Plant A Tree activities in the future!

Donvale Christian College

On Friday, May 13th Donvale Christian College launched ‘The Donvale Trail’, a six-stop biodiversity journey across the College grounds designed to draw attention to the marvellous variety of plant and animal habitats we host at our Tindals Rd campus. The development of the trail and the signs along it were supported by a grant from Landcare Victoria, and each stop forms a network of ‘outdoor classrooms’ where students can use all of their senses and learn from the landscape.

We were pleased to welcome some special guests to help with the opening ceremony. Aboriginal leader Brooke Prentis guided our environment captains through an Acknowledgment of Country to begin proceedings and later gave an inspiring keynote address highlighting the significance of creating spaces to observe, touch, listen and allow students to experience and learn from country.

We also welcomed the mayor of Manningham, Cr. Michelle Klienert who spoke of the council’s commitment to sustainability and recognition of the climate crisis. In particular the mayor pointed out the importance of caring for the green wedge where the school is located and preserving the biodiversity of the Mullum Mullum Creek reserve.

The event concluded with students who are participating in environment elective subjects from both the primary and secondary schools in a planting of murnong, or yam daisy, in an area especially prepared by the horticultural staff. The intention is that the murnong will be harvested and consumed in November as these subjects conclude.

Mount Lilydale Mercy College

Global warming and the impacts of climate change are ever present topics in the daily news cycle. Recent devastating bushfires and floods in Queensland and NSW have highlighted the need for governments and individuals to act decisively and with greater urgency. At Mt Lilydale Mercy college our emphasis has been to encourage whole school sustainability programs that are imbedded into the curriculum allowing our students to gain a clearer understanding of the many environmental concerns at play and potential ways to mitigate these. Students are encouraged to be change makers and become involve within their local communities and direct their focus on increased sustainable practices.

In doing so they are using 21st Century learning skills such as problem solving, team work, interpersonal skills – to influence others in seeking positive change. Future work experience options and employment opportunities in the Green economy are highlighted in the curriculum and through our Careers department. Substantial
inroads have been made to reduce the college’s environmental footprint with the installation of solar panels, water tanks, sustainable building refurbishments and new constructions that feature eco-friendly designs and features. The college in conjunction with Sustainability Victoria and the Resource Smart schools’ program has gained 4 Star status, we are currently working toward the fifth and final star.

Wheelers Hill Primary School

In 2021 Wheelers Hill Primary School received a $5000 grant from Landcare Australia. With this grant, we decided to design and create a bird sanctuary. As a part of their Science Inquiry unit in Term 1, students in years 3 and 4 investigated animal features and habitats, and environmental factors that affect habitats. To conclude the unit, students designed an ‘ultimate bird sanctuary’ for a native bird. Students then, this week were able to take part in the creation the bird sanctuary at the front of our school. Students planted native, bird friendly plants, filled up bird baths and hung bird and insect nests and a bird feeder.

Solway Primary School

Wanting to lead by example around the school grounds, the teachers at Solway Primary School have started taking initiative in waste reduction. Starting with trips to their local coffee shop across the road, the teachers at Solway now model drinking from keep cups instead of using the usually provided single use cups that cannot be recycled. Inspired by the War on Waste, the staff have established a boomerang keep cup station in the staff room for teachers to take and return their reusable cups. To further incentivise the waste reduction movement, a discount has been arranged with the local coffee shop for the staff who are opting to bring their own cups. What a fantastic initiative by the teachers at Solway Primary School, we are inspired by their efforts to be the change that we want to see at school!