Badger Creek Primary School has an all-of-school approach to sustainability. The school boasts expansive grounds with well-established gardens and is situated directly opposite the Healesville Sanctuary. These beautiful outdoor spaces provide an environment for learning beyond the classroom.
Given their surroundings, Badger Creek Primary is deeply in tune with the environment. ResourceSmart Schools has helped inspire the school to create safe havens for native animals; improve how it consumes energy and water; and minimise waste.
Erin Murphy, Badger Creek Primary’s Sustainability Coordinator, credits the ResourceSmart Schools program for encouraging students and teachers to get involved in sustainability practices.
“Being involved with the ResourceSmart Schools program teaches our students and community about the environment and encourages easy ways that everybody can make positive contributions to our environment and our future,” Erin says.
“It was important for us to integrate ResourceSmart Schools practices into our curriculum so that it was just a part of what we do here, and not seen as an extra burden on staff. We found it easy to align ResourceSmart Schools modules across the Victorian Curriculum into English, Maths, Science, Humanities, Art and the Capabilities and so many more.”
Students are actively involved in the creation and maintenance of gardens, a veggie patch and a frog bog that encourages local wildlife into the schoolgrounds. Students have also worked with the local high school to build a hen house to raise chickens.
Erin explains, “These practices and more have brought our school community closer together and we continually seek to link up with more community groups to increase environmental awareness in our school, our community and beyond.”
As further testament to the incredible work they’re doing, the school held a Sustainability Expo recently. The expo featured a working worm farm, student-made beeswax wraps, reusable T-shirt bags, handmade paper and a demonstration of the school’s new waste systems.
Beyond what happens at school, students take sustainability practices home with them, often persuading families to adopt practices like using 100 per cent recycled toilet paper, adjusting thermostats on heating/cooling systems or choosing active travel to and from school.
Whilst the environment has benefited from their approach so has their bank balance, with the school saving over $10,000 by carrying out sustainable practices. ResourceSmart Schools has energised staff and students and has made Badger Creek Primary School an even more beautiful place to be.
The school plans to continue working with ResourceSmart Schools in the future.
“We will continue our involvement with the ResourceSmart Schools program as it provides excellent guidelines which are easily followed, yet can be expanded on. We aim to achieve our 5-Star certification in coming years, but will continue onwards simply because it brings so much to our school,” Erin said.
Badger Creek Primary’s top three sustainability tips for schools
- Develop a plan. What do you want to achieve in the short and long term? Get input from as many stakeholders as you can, especially the students. Put a time frame on actions, but be flexible too.
- Get lots of people involved – students, parents, staff, community and businesses. Ask other schools and organisations for advice.Build it into school practice to make the change long term and your efforts sustainable.
- Write student activities into the curriculum plans, mark important dates on the calendar, look for clever ways to assess students and build in student agency. If it is built in to your operations at school, it is not an ‘added extra’, but part of your school’s culture.
PLUS remember to celebrate your progress! It builds momentum and recognises those who have helped you along the way.