As one of Victoria’s first 5Star ResourceSmart Schools, Carrum Primary School has saved nearly $30,000 since joining the program in 2007.
ResourceSmart Schools has been pivotal in keeping the school’s focus on sustainability. The program has helped to motivate students to achieve real results that affect the wellbeing of the planet and the community.
On their campus, Carrum Primary School has solar panels, a vibrant orchard, garden beds with seasonal vegetables, chook pens, goat enclosures, an aviary and wetlands. Garden produce is used by the cooking class in the school’s kitchen. At recess, groups of children complete recycling, collect food scraps to feed the animals and chop up vegetables for the birds.
Amanda Carmichael, Sustainability Coordinator at Carrum Primary School says sustainability is an integral part of the day-to-day happenings at the school.
“We cannot imagine what it would be like to work without sustainability in our lives. We have been on our journey for a long time and ResourceSmart School and sustainability are a part of our identity,” Amanda said.
The school sees ResourceSmart Schools as an all-of-school extension of their curriculum. Grades one and two have a unit titled 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'; grades three and four focus on 'Habitats and Shelters'; and grades five and six explore the 'Karrum Karrum Swamplands'.
Carrum also have a designated 'Sustainability Term' for grades one to six, where they focus on an issue or idea that specifically relates to an improvement in current practices or actions around sustainability.
Importantly, the school engages beyond the school gate working with and mentoring other schools in the area to become ResourceSmart Schools. They also work alongside the local council, namely the City of Kingston, to revegetate a nearby foreshore reserve and plant around the sports precinct. They have a partnership with the Mornington Peninsula Aviaculture Society who help care for and manage the aviary, where many endangered species are bred.
“We are able to educate not only our community within the school, but our wider community. We integrate sustainable actions throughout all our studies and inquiry topics. It has brought together the organisations we have dealt with, such as the Gould League, Zoos Victoria and CERES, into one platform,” Amanda said.
Further to being actively involved in the ResourceSmart Schools program, the school holds an annual Big Green Festival and Big Green Schools Conference, two community based, not-for-profit, environmental awareness events. Students and their families also participate in the monthly 'Carrum Beach Patrol', where they pick up rubbish on the beach and the 'Carrum Street Patrol', where they remove litter from their local streets.
Carrum Primary School’s top three sustainability tips for schools
- Have your staff on board.
- Reach out to your local community.
- Make sure you engage your students with events and activities.