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Green gong for school

SAINT Joseph’s Primary School Beechworth principal Kitty Hancock has praised the school’s students and its sustainability team after it won the prestigious 2014 Indigo Shire Council Sustainability Award.

“The sustainability team, made up of about six parents, has shown great leadership in helping to teach the students how to go about sustainability and putting things into practice,” she said.

“It’s been real parental leadership.

“We are a small school of 110 students, so it was a big effort in taking on major organisations and winning the award.

“We are very proud of the parents who have been involved and our students take real pride in the award.”

Over the past two years, the school has made a major strategic shift toward environmental sustainability that has mobilised the school community.

The key achievements have been:

• Development of a School Environment Management Plan providing a vision for sustainability, including a sustainability committee made up of teachers and parents;

• Delivery of a Sustainability Elective in 2013 and 2014. These sessions, delivered by parents, have included propagation and planting of native plants and construction of wildlife nest boxes;

• Establishment in 2013 of vegetable gardens, worm farms, and construction of a chook shed which now recycles the school’s food scraps; and,

• Creation in 2014 of a frog bog to slow and purify storm water and attract wildlife in a degraded parcel of land along the western boundary of the school.

Other awards included:

Highly Commended: Owen Gemmill, volunteer head gardener at the Wooragee Primary School and works daily to develop and maintain the school’s organic and sustainable living gardening program;

Highly Commended: BULS Patch to Patch Pedal. The Patch to Patch Pedal is organised and run by the Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability Group.

Other finalists were GLT (weed management), Beechworth Montessori School (recycling of vacant building), Lake Sambell Committee of Management (Emma’s Garden and Bird Hide, Lake Sambell), Rutherglen IGA (reduction of energy use).

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