Sustainability

Strathaird Primary School is committed to providing students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future.

Resource Smart School



We monitor our Energy and Water usage through the SWEP program. You can view our real time data here;


Curriculum

Education for Sustainable Development at Strathaird is not only about being environmentally-friendly. We offer Sustainability as a specialist subject to help students develop life-skills and knowledge that ensures they grow up caring for and respecting our planet’s resources.
Sustainability is a big feature in the 2017 Victorian Curriculum. Students at SPS cover many areas of this curriculum through topics such as;
• What does it mean to be green? (recycling, waste management etc.)
• What lives in our school? (Including pond life)
• Birds and Reptiles
• E is for Energy
• Kids in the Garden
• Biodiversity, conservation and endangerment
• Water Health
• Sacred Land
• Waste Minimisation
• We Care – what can we do? (Active citizenship)

Resource Smart School

We joined the Resource Smart program in May 2013. This program helps schools to take action in minimising their waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are a 4-Star school and have achieved 4 modules including CORE, Biodiversity, Water and Waste. We aim to continue our journey by working through the remaining module ‘Energy’ and receiving our 5th and final star. For more information on the Resource Smart Schools Program please visit http://www.resourcesmartschools.vic.gov.au/about/

What does Sustainability look like at SPS?

Our Green Team

Each year 2 representatives from each Grade 5 class are eligible to apply to be on the school’s ‘Green Team’. These are coveted positions and involve very important duties such as speaking at assembly, monitoring the school’s waste and recycling, brainstorming new environmental projects the school could implement, helping to maintain the vegetable garden and many more. Students have the opportunity to enter many environmental themed competitions, in 2017 members from our Green Team placed 3rd in a Clean Up Australia Day Competition for their design of a Native Bee and Insect Home.

Biodiversity

Vegetable Garden

A permaculture style vegetable garden is well established in our school and is abundant with fresh produce. We have 7 above ground garden beds, 5 of which are rotated with seasonal vegetables and the other 2 are permanent established herb gardens. Students are wholly responsible for preparing, sowing, growing, maintaining and harvesting the vegetable garden. Each week a range of fresh produce is harvested and given to students to take home. Our garden is cared for organically, we use plants that attract beneficial insects and other plants to deter unwanted garden pests. Using no pesticides ensures that each garden in our school encourages biodiversity.

Orchard

Along the back fence of our school we have a fruit orchard. Whilst some of the trees are doing better than others, each year we see these trees thrive a little more. In 2018 two of our fig trees were abundant with fruit. Other trees we have in our orchard include a nectarine, peach and lime tree. We ensure that we regularly mulch around the trunks of these trees to help them retain water and prevent root damage from rogue soccer balls.

Endangered eco-system garden

In 2009 the school constructed an endangered eco-system garden inclusive of a frog pond. This garden was designed in partnership with the local council and community groups to ensure that it would support endangered plants from the local area and encourage native fauna to thrive. Now in it’s 8th year of operation, the garden is a huge success. Staff, students and school community are encouraged to go down the endangered eco-system walk, complete with informative signage on our school and the garden itself. In 2017 some lucky parents even spotted an echidna living in this garden!

Quiet Garden

In 2016 we opened a fernery/quite garden. Located in between two portable buildings underneath shade cloth, this space is a retreat for students who enjoy or require some quiet time. In this garden we grow a range of tree ferns, kangaroo paw plants as well as native grasses.

Sensory Garden

Our sensory garden is located near our main teaching building. It is full of a diverse range of native plants that are both pleasing to the eyes and nose, as well as having some interesting textures for students to feel. Students can often be seen following the round-about style path through the sensory garden, touching and smelling their way through.

Waste

From 2016 to 2017, we were able to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill by 49m3. We currently generate about 294m3 of waste each year and are hoping to continue efforts and reduce this further. In 2016 all classrooms were supplied with a Mixed Recycling bucket, this contributed immensely to the amount of waste we were able to divert from landfill and into recycling. We have 5 worm farms at the school and each Grade 2 class is able to further divert their waste by feeding the worms their scraps from fruit breaks once a week. We have also recently purchased 2 digestion systems to be installed in our school gardens, some classes will be selected to trial composting all their food waste in these and we will evaluate their success by the end of the year.
Canteen waste is minimised by the introduction of Stickybeaks reusable lunch bags, a very successful campaign we ran in 2016 and again in 2017 that saw many of our parents purchase these bags to use in place of paper bags at the canteen.
In 2017 we have nominated two Waste Warriors in every classroom. These warriors are responsible for checking their mixed and paper recycling bins for contamination as well as emptying these regularly and encouraging their peers to reduce their waste.

Water

At Strathaird every student is encouraged to bring a drink bottle full of water to school. We have also installed push-flow taps in all student toilets to ensure that these taps are not left on. Rain water is not wasted at Strathaird, we collect water of our Gym building roof that fills our 40,000L water tank, this water services all the toilets in the permanent buildings. We also have a smaller water tank which helps to water our other gardens and keep the frog pond topped up with water in drier months.
We joined the Schools Water Efficiency Program in 2014. This program helps us collect daily usage statistics and identifies us immediately of any water leaks.
Water is imbedded in our curriculum, and each year students participate in the Water for Life competition.
In 2017 Strathaird celebrated water and how we can save it through a school-wide water event during education week. This involved all classes participating simultaneously in water based educational activities.

Energy

Energy is our focus for 2018. Each classroom has nominated two Energy Warriors. These warriors are responsible for ensuring that their lights are switched off when they are not needed and that classroom temperature is set to energy efficient levels.
In addition to these roles our school is equipped with two energy-efficient classrooms. We also have a school-wide shutdown procedure that automatically shuts down all technology from 6pm onwards. This has helped us achieve huge results in our energy savings, from 2016 to 2017, Strathaird was able to decrease its energy use by 7,178kWh. That’s the equivalent of running 14 fridges for a year!
In 2018 we celebrated Earth Hour by switching off our classrooms for one hour, during this hour we saved 30.48 kWh, this translates to 35.66kg of Carbon Dioxide that we saved from entering the atmosphere.