Point Cook College approaches sustainability as a school-wide exercise and through the ResourceSmart Schools program has saved over $266,000 to date. The school has achieved 3 Star recognition state-wide as a ResourceSmart School and is working towards 5 Star accreditation. The school has reduced their greenhouse emissions by 649 tonnes CO2 equivalent since 2011.
With a school wetland, annual whole-school sustainability days and three student environmental leadership teams, Point Cook College is thinking sustainability first.
Robyn Cairns, Sustainability Coordinator for the school explains, “Being part of the ResourceSmart Schools program has given our school direction for our journey in sustainability education and has given us recognition for our school’s achievements.”
“Point Cook College now has three student environmental leadership teams that give students across all year levels the opportunity to be involved in sustainability projects, partnerships, conferences and events so they can make an active and positive difference in improving their environment on local, national or global level.”
Point Cook College has a campus with many visible sustainability projects. The ResourceSmart Schools program is implemented through their School Environment Management Plan, curriculum, a school-wide positive behaviours program and the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program, to name a few.
“ResourceSmart Schools provides direction and structure for sustainability education. It links modules with the Victorian curriculum. At Point Cook College we aim to constantly integrate sustainability education into the curriculum and improve practices in energy, biodiversity, waste and water across the school campus,” says Robyn.
She says the community has responded positively to Point Cook College’s approach to sustainability and the ResourceSmart Schools program.
“Being part of ResourceSmart Schools enables us through our School Environment Management Plan to be proactive in setting our annual goals to make a positive difference to the environment. As a direct result of our participation in the program, we have more of a whole-school community approach to achieving goals. As a result, we’ve won an award (the 2011 Energy School of the Year award) and in 2016 our environmental leaders were shortlisted for Student Action Team of the year.”
Point Cook College’s top three sustainability tips for schools
- Link your modules to action you can take in your local community e.g. bird watching and biodiversity surveys.
- Get to know your school's local area – environmental issues specific to your zone and the landscapes around you. Discover what is on offer for your students locally to enrich their connections with nature and take positive action. Attend your local 'Teacher Environment Network' meetings when you can.
- Reach out to your local sustainable service providers e.g. Melbourne Water, Melbourne Zoo and local not-for profit organisations to investigate how your school can get involved or develop a partnership.