We are delighted to celebrate everyone who has been working so hard at achieving great things – no action is too small. Our young people and school communities are already leading the way on sustainability.
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For the 14th edition of the ResourceSmart Schools Awards, we're celebrating everyone who has been working so hard at achieving great things – no action is too small.
Tomorrow’s leaders have arrived. Our young people and schools are already leading the way on sustainability, creating real impact for Victorian communities beyond the school gate.
We celebrate everyone in our ResourceSmart Schools community who has worked to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum over the past year and everyone who entered this year’s Awards.
A category that celebrates a school that has recently joined RSS and has already started to embed sustainability in everything they do.
The power of research, grants, and community action.
Students, staff and parents are all behind this school’s brand-new urban forest, food-producing garden and orchard, Lilly Pilly courtyard, community greenhouse, and their beloved Hope Garden, designed for composting and to improve students’ wellbeing.
Students have drawn inspiration from Federation Square’s waste practices and the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Initiative to investigate sustainable infrastructure and divert food scraps from landfill.
All wheels in motion: an inspirational top-down approach.
Geelong Grammar’s 4 campuses joined ResourceSmart Schools in 2022. Among their many sustainability activities, the school designed a new Sustainability Policy and Action Plan, appointed a Sustainability Manager, replanted indigenous and native plants and installed 265kW of solar panels across two campuses.
The school also used baseline data collected from sustainability activities as a resource for learning.
Strong foundations and student action for a long-lasting journey.
With support from the principal and staff, this school’s parents established the Waste Warriors group and the Garden Club and included a parent representative of sustainability on School Council.
They ran a workshop that resulted in the introduction of the Student Environment Club and Sustainability Captains to continue their ResourceSmart journey.
This category recognises schools that best demonstrate a commitment to community leadership through the encouragement of innovative sustainability practices and action on climate change.
Generosity and partnerships for collective action.
With a long-lasting commitment towards sustainability, this school worked closely with the Maroondah Council, participating in incursions, Tree Day, and Ride and Walk to School activities. Students improved their Kitchen Garden Program by addressing climate change and extending access to all students.
The school also partnered with Bedford Park Community Group and Precious Plastics to recycle plastic bottle tops.
Sharing intergenerational knowledge in the garden.
Every fortnight, students from all year levels completed gardening and cooking activities, learning about climate change and sustainable food practices.
They also had the opportunity to connect with traditions and celebrations like Rosh Hashanah, Tree Day, Earth Day, and Grandfather Day where volunteers and grandparents shared knowledge and stories with the children.
Student-led action on climate change research.
The school’s student action team, the Waa’s Helpers, took RMIT students on a tour around campus to identify challenges faced by overheating. With the help of RMIT and Brimbank Council, students found solutions to these problems while learning more about the science of climate change.
The school also donates repurposed clothing items to communities in Zambia and Elcho Island.
Meaningful experiences that inspire a whole community.
Braybrook College’s carbon neutrality ambitions are backed by a multi-pronged approach that upskills students and staff while engaging with the community. The school encourages recycling and reuse with stations for old batteries and mobile phones, as well as book exchanges.
Students have also participated in the Ride2School Day, Earth Hour, audits and activities to increase biodiversity, and the Seeds for Space program.
Student-led approach to tackle local and national problems.
Students from Viewbank College's Sustainability Group and the Young Persons Plan for the Planet program built a vertical native garden using recycled components from the community.
They also attended the 2022 Conference in Townsville and discussed solutions to ensure the Great Barrier Reef’s survival, expanding their influence beyond Victoria.
This category recognises teaching and learning of sustainability through the Victorian curriculum, and the creative and innovative approaches to addressing sustainability in lesson plans, units of work or school-wide curriculum.
Connecting with First Nations people to learn about sustainable practices.
The whole school learned about culture, history, science, and ethics, culminating in a Reconciliation Walk along the banks of Forest Creek to Me Mandook Galk, the Grandmother Tree.
Students investigated the sustainability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and created a series of storyboards along the walk. Grade 5 and 6 students also learnt about the value of habitat protection.
Real life examples for real life problems.
The school’s multi-disciplinary approach encourages students to connect and transfer their learning. The curriculum includes activities on resource use and excursion for all grades. For instance, grade 5 students tracked energy bills to study ways to reduce their consumption, while using their mathematical and communication skills.
Fostering personal pledges with a 5 Star curriculum.
Foundation to year 6 students completed environmental sustainability as a specialist subject while incorporating science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
Grade 5 and 6 students participated in a sustainable photo trail, following clues to find different sustainable features at school, leading them to make personal pledges and analyse individual actions, taking their 5 Star commitment beyond the school gate.
An innovative approach to engage on environmental action.
This school addresses sustainability in creative forms, with students writing and producing a climate change play, working on the school’s solar panels, gathering data from energy bills and participating in Environment Day activities.
Members of staff also hold a dedicated meeting to discuss environmental initiatives and improvements around the school.
From scratch: working for a whole school approach to sustainability.
Harnessing an education model that equips pupils with tools and experiences to face real life challenges, Croydon Community School students started a Student Representative Council with sustainability at its core.
Thanks to teacher Ms Stephanie Brown, students also participated in a sustainability camp and attended excursions with Maroondah City Council and the Community Alliance for Waste Reduction and Sustainability.
Environmental awareness and responsibility.
Students across the school teamed up to perform resource audits, covering litter, ocean plastic waste, biodiversity and general waste. The college has a First Nations advocate and Indigenous perspectives are integrated across the curriculum and in sustainability in the Caring for Country unit.
Students also learnt about horticulture, science, and food technology from a sustainability perspective.
This category recognises teachers who best demonstrate leadership in sustainability.
The impact of resource use reduction and student action.
The driving force behind the 3 Stars achieved by her schools is Alison, the Sustainability Coordinator. She mentors several student action teams and has created the school’s sustainability webpage.
Alison’s work on the ResourceSmart Schools program saved the school $44,000 on bills. In 2022, through the B&B Highway Program, Alison also set up native garden beds to educate students and increase local biodiversity.
Forging a culture of responsible leaders.
Danielle is behind the inclusion of sustainability in the science curriculum for all year levels, working with teachers to include renewable energy sources in the program and create a staff sustainability team.
She has contributed to the school infrastructure, such as solar panels, water tanks, LED lights, and a kitchen garden, but her greatest achievement is shaping and empowering environmentally-aware generations.
Knowledge and action, two joint forces to promote sustainability.
Jemma is described by colleagues as the “embodiment of a sustainable crusader”. She teaches, mentors students, secures grants and works closely with the Mornington Peninsula Shire on zero single-use plastics targets.
This environmental science teacher is also responsible for the SubPod that now diverts 90% of the school’s food waste from landfill, contributing to the school’s 2-Star certification.
Inspiring a new generation of environmental professionals.
Andrew’s positive footprint changed the school. He has embedded sustainability in the curriculum, supported green events and purchasing policies, encouraged renewable energy, secured emissions reductions and saved $524,000 on bills.
Andrew’s inspiration also transcends the school gate. He presented green careers options for Vocational Education and Training students, leading to 26 enrolments in natural and physical sciences university courses in 2022.
Changing the sustainability approach in the curriculum.
One of Judith’s greatest legacies is the Green Tradies program, where volunteers and students work on weed management, composting, and harvesting vegetables to then cook meals, bringing the community together while enriching student’s learning experience.
She also introduced the Leadership for Sustainability group, worked with Agricultural and Horticultural students on permaculture, and created the school’s outdoor classroom.
Over 20 years of environmental stewardship.
Rowena’s vision for sustainability started when she instigated the inclusion of environmental studies in VCE. Her innovative eye is also behind the school’s Year 7 Environment Day, a yearly event with impacts on the whole community, and the 2022 Climate Emergency Program, which involved 500 students.
Rowena’s infectious dedication has inspired parents, and ensured students enjoy a culture of sustainability.
Celebrating student teams that best demonstrate environmental leadership.
Innovative student-led action.
The Sustainability Team improved the biodiversity within the school but also in the wider community by revegetating an area across the road from the school. The team engaged with the local council and contacted local nurseries to determine what would be the most suitable to plant.
Revegetating this area provided habitats for wildlife and engaged the wider community.
Making noise to make a point.
The Waa’s Helpers are determined to promote positive environmental change, presenting at events and school assemblies, creating signage for bins and energy action, and introducing plants to each classroom.
The group also worked with RMIT students to analyse the effects of climate change on their school, expanding their perspectives and spheres of influence.
Giving back to the community and the local environment.
This 4-Star school’s sustainability team formed by 93 students ran Sustainability Day, a school-wide activity based on studying and working on natural resources. To finance future activities, the team ran a fortnightly sustainability raffle with a prize of fresh produce from the garden.
They also participate each month in a beach monitoring activity run by Port Fairy Coastal Group.
A sustainable-oriented governance and civic education approach.
The senior Environment Action Team played a major role in developing the school’s first Sustainability Policy through the collection of data and reviewing the final draft.
Their interest in civic matters and the environment is extraordinary. They joined a classroom politics debate with the grade 6 leaders, and developed and submitted a video rejecting a nearby gas terminal.
Seniors mentoring juniors to lead by example.
The Green Team, formed by senior and junior students, joined the Recycle Right Initiative and completed volunteer work experience at an Indigenous nursery to learn about features to attract biodiversity.
Alongside the CERES team, the Senior Pathways Sustainability Group undertook a biodiversity audit that led students to build insect hotels and make scarecrows using recycled materials to improve the campus.
Organised action for clear goals.
To promote biodiversity, the ResourceSmart Team organised a frog discovery tour, undertook pollinator counts, and participated in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. They encourage sustainable behaviour among their peers by promoting recycling, compost bins, and sharing second-hand uniforms between families.
Their determination and outstanding organisational skills were crucial to achieving the school’s 2-Star certification.
Celebrating a volunteer or volunteer group who supports the implementation of sustainability activities by contributing their time and expertise.
It only takes 2 to kickstart a change.
The Overnewton Parent Sustainability Group started with one determined parent and one committed teacher wanting to support the Students Sustainability Group.
In a short time, they have encouraged audits at both campuses, built a new garden, drafted sustainable policies, supported the delivery of the School Environment Management Plan, and invited another ResourceSmart school to share their activities and motivate staff.
The gardening rockstars: educating with expertise and passion.
In 2018, parents Anthony Moran and Melinda Williams turned their school’s run-down garden into a source of vegetables using sustainable practices.
Anthony and Melinda established Thursday Garden Club and the Composting Posse, supported the student-led Waste Warriors and Environment Club, and have inspired children to care and make informed decisions for their environment.
The Dads club: the parental environmental action committee.
A group of fathers have formed a committee to kickstart this school’s journey into sustainability. This committee has hosted a waste-free camping experience with students, presented on fast fashion and created stickers to encourage water and energy efficiency practices among students.
This dad-led club donates their time and expertise to embed sustainability in the school while raising a generation of environmentally-conscious children.
Celebrating the school that best demonstrates their commitment to environmental sustainability.
Green areas to inspire great waste-avoidance practices.
The Foresters and Farmers student group became the drivers of a system of food waste caddies collected each lunchtime from classrooms. The school has also installed water tanks and Biofilta Food Cubes, which are paid forward by delivering surplus crops to Food Bank.
The school’s impressive Urban Forest and Hope Garden provide students with spaces for wellbeing, recreation, and immersive learning.
A school conceived with permaculture principles and community spirit.
A purpose-built wetlands area with native plants has attracted over 120 species of birds to this school, inspiring students to participate in the River Detectives Program and learn about permaculture.
Surface water from the school grounds feeds into the wetlands and storm water is used for gardening and firefighting purposes.
Embedding sustainability one firm step at a time.
In 3 years, parents, staff, and students have introduced solar panels, LED lights, a waste stream bin system, and heat pumps for hot water, ensuring a sustainable space for students to learn.
Staff members work with student leaders to engage them in the process of drafting the School Environmental Management Plan and ensure the achievement of their targets.
This category recognises outstanding sustainability achievement in Victorian primary and secondary schools through:
Over a decade of never-ending action.
Always happy to support their peers, this 5-Star school has become a leader across Victoria, co-presenting at the Learning for Sustainability Conference and supporting the Department of Education by reviewing resources.
Last year, they revived package-free food days and restarted the Active Travel Weekly Tally Competition, inspiring sustainability practices among their students.
Student agency with local impact.
On its way to achieve 5-Star certification, this school encouraged student curiosity and action through their Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning program, activities with local organisations, and their horticulture, science and agriculture subjects.
The school’s Outdoor Learning Space master plan was developed by students who received advice from Wurundjeri Elders to rehabilitate a nearby area for biodiversity and learning purposes.
A contagious enthusiasm beneficial to the sea.
Students of this 4-Star school supported the Port Fairy Coastal Group by recording and monitoring data on erosion levels at two local beaches. The collected data is used in literacy and numeracy classroom activities, with the findings later reported to the community.
The passion of these students is so contagious that a nearby school has joined them in their coastal mission.