Waste-free Wednesdays, a parish garden and a school-wide compost system are just some of the ways things have been getting greener at All Hallows Catholic Primary School Five Dock.
With assistance from select student Nano Rangers, Environmental Leaders and outside support from education group Seed Harvest Spoon, teacher Sharon Bignold said the school aims to encourage an environment where students are sustainable citizens for life, with a healthy respect for how their food is grown and shipped.
‘The Harvest Spoon program really does start from paddock to plate,’ said Ms Bignold, ‘and covers that whole mentality of the distance travelled and the miles that food has to come from to get to our shelves.’
‘Lessons involve anything from learning how to compost correctly, to how to minimise our waste, how to plant and grow seedlings and vegetables, and also looking at the wider picture on how we can be good stewards of the earth.’
Students are already putting their skills to use at a parish garden across the road from the school, and one of their in-class activities recently invited them to re-design a garden space that was previously removed as part of a large-scale renovation.
Ava and Eva, who are both in Year 6, are hoping they may be able to grow vegetables and sell them to the local community, building on the many sustainable projects they already contribute to as Nano Rangers – including their waste-free Wednesday initiative.
‘On Wednesday everyone’s got to bring in as much ‘nude food’ as possible,’ said Ava ‘and people with no wrappers in their lunchbox will get a raffle ticket.’
‘Every Friday at assembly a teacher will pick out a name and the winners will get a nude food container.’
Students are currently brainstorming ways to make their community more aware of the importance of being waste-free, including creating posters and songs that build awareness that children can bring packed lunches without plastic and put any organic waste in their compost bins.
Ms Bignold said their hard work is highly valued by the school, and believes it will set them up for success as adults.
‘They learn some of the very basic processes of being sustainable. Hopefully that then becomes something that is used in their own thinking and their own ethos, so they are better consumers and go on to be better stewards of the earth – because we’ve only got one.’