St Augustine's commenced our 'Sustainable Schools' journey in 2010 with the development of the Kitchen Garden Project. Based on the Stephanie Alexander model, the garden quickly became a focal point for the school and sustainable practices began to underpin much of the focus evident in the learning.
The garden quickly flourished and we added the water tanks, chicken coop and renovated the portable into the Garden Kitchen to provide the cooking program for the school. At the same time, we began to focus on other areas of the school where we needed to regenerate gardens or parts of our bush setting lost during the construction of our community hall. Our achievements earned us a place as finalists in the Victorian Sustainable Schools Award, in 2011.
Since then we have developed our focus on environmental issues and sustainable practices. We have taken on the ResourceSmart School program and are working towards becoming a 5-star sustainable school, we are working closely with organisations such as CERES to help us realise these actions. To date, we have completed two module and have 2 stars; Core and Biodiversity.
We have a dedicated sustainability educator/gardener and cooking teacher to support the Kitchen-Garden program and the children love cooking and eating the food from the garden.
Other projects we have worked on around the school are our Frog pond, Aboriginal sensory garden, Vineyard, Italian garden, worm farm, composting bays, recycling systems, water tanks, banana trees, and more. Many of these have been the direct result of student led inquiry units.
Biodiversity at St Augustine's 2021
Each year, our Sustainability Leaders complete a biodiversity audit as a part of the Resource Smart program. In doing so, the students assess how our school is going in maintaining and building upon the school's natural environment. It is a fantastic way to see all the incredible things that we have been doing, as well as address any areas that we feel need improvement.
While completing this year's audit, the students were able to highlight the number of native animals that use our school as their habitat, the continued planting of native species, particularly around our new prayer space, the introduction of additional worm farms and our new chickens.
An area that was identified as needing to be focused on was the school frog pond which is very much out of action at the moment. Lucky for us, the Father’s group has the frog pond in their sights and has some incredible plans of how we can rejuvenate the frog pond and make it a fantastic environment for our students and reintroduce frogs to our school!
Sustainability at St Augustine’s 2019Semester 2 has had a strong focus on waste for St Augustine’s Sustainability Leaders and Marine Ambassadors. In Term 3, they went on an excursion to Banyan Reserve and Kananook Creek, to see the measures that are put in place to prevent litter from entering our waterways and oceans. As a school that is quite close to the beach, we were astounded at the surprisingly limited impact these resources have. It was very apparent that we need to do more as a community to prevent rubbish from being in the environment in the first place. As we are a Resource Smart school, this really fit in with our focus on our Waste Module. Although as a school, we had completed one waste audit, our Sustainability Leaders felt they needed to do more. They have begun a weekly litter survey, where they are keeping a tally of the different types of rubbish within our school and how much is there. They are recording the data weekly on a Google Sheet to keep track of the different trends and to see if there is a decrease in rubbish within our school. We can’t wait to see the results and the impact this will have on our environment!