During 2014 the whole school Environmental Sustainability Team was formed comprising of staff across the campuses to focus on delivering school environmental objectives. All campuses are now registered under the ResourceSmart Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI Vic).
ResourceSmart is a Victorian Government initiative designed to help schools to take action to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The team is currently working towards completing the various modules.
An Environmental Sustainability Policy has been drafted and an Environmental Sustainability Plan is being developed which will focus on delivering key initiatives. A student focused group has also been established to assist the team.
ResourceSmart Education Awards 2015 Finalist - Community Leadership School of the Year
ResourceSmart students inspire Warragul to be more sustainable
Finalists in Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Education Awards 2015 were announced recently, receiving recognition for their inspiring sustainability projects.
The ResourceSmart Education Awards are Victoria’s largest sustainability awards program that recognise Victorian schools, early childhood services, students and teachers for their sustainability projects.
A record number of entries were received this year, with over 180 entries from more than 100 schools across the state.
All finalists demonstrate to the Victorian community how to take local action on climate change and how we can all work towards embedding sustainability in everything we do at school and at home.
St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School has been named a finalist in the Community Leadership School of the Year category of the ResourceSmart Education Awards 2015 for leading a multi-partner community project that has seen 0.55Ha revegetated by students and the community and improved, through revegetation and education activities, the quality and connectivity of the threatened species habitat in a section of Hazel Creek which runs through popular Brooker Park, Warragul in West Gippsland.
The awards are part of the ResourceSmart Schools program. Earlier this year, the Victorian Government announced $1 million towards supporting sustainability networks across Victoria to encourage ResourceSmart Schools to help schools embed sustainability into everything they do.
Winners will be announced at the 2015 ResourceSmart Education Awards Ceremony on Wednesday 14 October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Winners and finalists will share in prizes that will support further sustainability actions to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their school communities.
Year 9 student Lauren Brewer who was actively involved with planting trees and also created the video for the ResourceSmart application said “To know that you have helped the environment while having fun and making new friends along the way is great. We will all be able to go back there in 20 years and say ‘look what we did, we helped make a difference”.
Brooker Park Regeneration Project
Communities For Nature, Brooker Park, Warragul
St Paul’s is leading a multi-partner community project at the Warragul Campus that will improve, through revegetation and education activities, the quality and connectivity of threatened species habitat in a section of Hazel Creek that runs through popular Brooker Park. St Paul’s has been successful in receiving a State Government Grant under the Communities For Nature Funding Program.
The project team includes representatives from the Baw Baw Shire Council, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Warragul Urban Landcare Group and the St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School’s Environmental Sustainability and students groups.
People in our community are active users of Brooker Park and are familiar with the state of Hazel Creek, so this project will provide opportunities to participate in revegetation working bees and events, creation of walking trails, information sessions on the threatened fauna species, local vegetation opportunities and a catchment snapshot identifying impacts and solutions to ongoing catchment health of Hazel Creek.
In July 2015 students from the Early Learning Centre, Junior School and Secondary School in Warragul took part in a tree planting day where a total of 700 trees were planted with assistance from the St Paul’s teaching staff and representatives from the Baw Baw Shire Council.
As a part of a schedule of educational events for the Brooker Park Regeneration Project, the community took part in a tree planting day on Sunday 26 July, 2015. Approximately 40 residents from the community attended and planted approximately 1000 more trees.
St Paul’s has also hosted an educational seminar that was presented by Dr Beverly Van Praagh (Invert-Eco Consultancy) to the community on the endangered Giant Gippsland Earthworm and Warragul Burrowing Crayfish.
Green Credentials - New Secondary School Building
The School has received a grant from the Australian Government to assist St Paul’s in constructing a new building for the Warragul Secondary School.
This project involves the construction of a two-storey facility creating seven general learning areas, a large multi-purpose space, breakout learning spaces, staff resource areas and offices, storeroom, foyer and student/staff amenities, along with the installation of a lift.
The new building will be used largely by VCE classes, so students from both campuses will be able to enjoy the new facility as they complete their senior secondary schooling at the Warragul Campus.
The project is to be completed in November/December 2015.
The School’s architect, Smith+Tracey has designed this building with several environmental features.
Click on the image below to view the Green Credentials incorporated into the new building design.
Energy Efficiency Grants Program
As part of the School’s involvement in the ResourceSmart Program the School has received grants under the Energy Efficiency Grants Program from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Sustainability Victoria Partnership to implement various energy saving initiatives.
This project has recently been completed with over a 1000 light fittings being converted into LED lighting across specific buildings within both the Traralgon and Warragul Campuses.
The implication of this conversion is that the power consumption associated with the LED lighting will be approximately half that of the older lighting installations.
New Waste Management System
During past months the Environment Sustainability Team has been working towards developing a solution to improve the sustainability of the way waste is collected and managed within the School.
An improved outside bin system has already been installed at both Traralgon and Warragul Campuses and a similar internal system is soon be introduced within buildings.
This system comprises of a three bin colour classification:
- Red – for general waste
- Yellow – for recycling/plastics; and
- Blue – for paper
During the 2015 June/July school holiday period the St Paul’s horticultural staff took the time to renew the plants in the major bluestone boxes abutting the front of the School in Bowen Street as shown below:
Since the construction of the greenhouse at the Warragul Campus, over 9000 plants have been propagated and planted within the grounds of the Warragul Campus with further seedlings to be planted at the Traralgon Campus shortly.
Discussions have commenced in relation to the landscaping design to be developed around the new Secondary School building with the financial assistance and involvement of the St Paul’s Alumni Association.
An update from the St Paul's Sustainability Captain
This year the St Paul’s brand new Student Sustainability Team worked hard to implement positive environmental changes in both the School and wider community.
Late last year, it came to our attention that around 60% of the waste generated by the St Paul’s Warragul Secondary School was recyclable paper that, due to the lack of a recycling system, was going into landfill. So, with the help of the School’s maintenance team, a recycling scheme is now underway following the installation of two new types of bins. The School now has a red bin for general waste, a yellow bin for co-mingled recycling and a blue bin for paper and cardboard.
The Student Sustainability Team then proceeded to begin work on the revegetation of a 0.55ha/5500m2 section of land in Brooker Park (behind the Science building). Thanks to the School Board, we were awarded a “Communities for Nature” grant to fund our project.
With the help of Baw Baw Shire environmental officers Karla Rutherford, Tyson Dennis and Rob Waddell, several other Shire members and contractors, numerous community members and St Paul’s students (from the ELC through to Year 12), we managed to:
- clear the area of blackberries and discarded rubbish (including buried slabs of concrete);
- design and create a winding gravel path, and install suitable drainage for the site;
- mulch the area;
- effectively plant over 3000 native seedlings in cold, rainy conditions, and;
- create interpretive signage for the area, informing the public of various native and endemic species at risk including the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, Warragul Burrowing Crayfish and Growling Grass Frog.
Overall, our team of exceptionally intelligent, devoted and motivated young men and women successfully endeavoured to improve the state of the environment, one project at a time.
My most heartfelt thanks to:
- Ms Young and Mr Oldham for their support and enthusiasm towards our revegetation and recycling projects (respectively);
- Mr Rob Waddell, Mr Tyson Dennis and Mrs Karla Rutherford for their boundless knowledge and ceaseless efforts, ensuring that all ran smoothly and that the seedlings would survive;
- Mrs Judy Beamish for helping to organise each of our projects, team meetings and emails;
- The incredible student and community volunteers who gave their time and effort on each of our tree planting days; and
- Each member of the St Paul’s Student Sustainability Team for their hard work, humour and passion.
Jessica Garcia, Student Sustainability Captain