The first to receive the $10,000 grant, in addition to the $2000 and $5000 grants. The funds were used to set up their waste wise environmental education centre, incorporating a 9R Shed, compost systems, worm farms, a vegetable garden, an outdoor classroom and interpretative signage. The former Minister for Environment, Hon. Donna Faragher opened the garden classroom.
"Our school shares the responsibility of maintaining our 9R shed. Some of the favourite activities are feeding and cuddling the chickens. Sharing leadership roles develops responsible, environmentally and socially aware active citizens", Sheree Samsa, Environmental Studies Teacher and Waste Wise educator.
In 2007 Churchlands received the first Waste Wise $10,000 grant as well as the $2000 and $5000 grants. The grants were used to expand their environmental education centre, incorporating a recycling shed (called the 9R shed), compost systems, worm farms, a vegetable garden, an outdoor classroom and interpretative signage. The result is a fabulous outdoor centre where students can learn about the environment in the shade of eucalyptus trees, surrounded by their own thriving Waste Wise garden and chickens.
Sheree has been instrumental in developing a neglected area in the front of the school into the 9R shed and environmental centre as it is today, where students are educated about reducing, reusing and recycling. They also learn respect, responsibility and resilience through caring for the worms, 10 chickens and numerous vegetable beds. These activities allow lessons to be carried out with a "hands on" emphasis - thereby educating all students on the importance of preserving our world.
All the activities are linked to the school's core curriculum. From incubating eggs and learning about the life cycle of a chicken to making quiche from the tomatoes, eggs and parsley they have grown. Churchlands Primary School completed three waste audits. Using the audits they were able to set their goals and aimed for 80 per cent reduction in waste to landfill.
They achieve this goal by recycling paper in every classroom, mulching green waste, composting, feeding food scraps and paper bags from the canteen to chickens and worms, and collecting recyclables such as batteries, mobile phones, and ring pulls from the community.
The success of the project is helped by the student "Green Team" - responsible for mentoring one class each throughout the school. One of their jobs is to ensure that batteries, phones and paper are being recycled correctly and to empty these on a regular basis.
Churchland's also introduced no waste lunch days to encourage students and their families to buy products in bulk and minimise packaging. Their low waste lunch days became so successful that it was reported on Channel 7's, Today Tonight. These days are now a regular occurrence and spot checks on lunchboxes with incentives are completed throughout the school year.
Since introducing the low waste lunches there has been a marked reduction in plastic wrap and other lunch packaging. The project supports the school's aim to encourage waste minimisation in the school and the wider community.
Churchlands Primary School aims to continue educating all students from pre-primary to Year 7 on the importance of preserving our world and empowering students to make a difference.
"I've always been passionate about the environment but never imagined that I could develop something as big as this." says Sheree