Over the last few years, we have been working steadily to improve sustainability practises within our school – from the day-to-day practices and routines, to developing greater opportunities for our students throughout the curriculum.
The ResourceSmart website helps our school track its sustainability journey and identifies savings made. Most recently, we were awarded our second of five Stars for our work within the ‘Waste’ module. Our next goal is to achieve our third Star for our work within the ‘Energy’ module.
During our time with ResourceSmart School, we have been particularly mindful about improving the biodiversity within our school. We believe that the children’s educational experience is greatly enhanced by what we can offer, outside the classroom.
Over the last ten years, we have been involved in three tree-planting projects, to improve the banks surrounding our sporting oval. These plants were provided free of charge, thanks to Yarra Ranges Council’s ‘Ribbons of Green Program’. On all occasions, our students were involved in the planting and mulching of these plants. We look forward to participating in another Tree Planting Day, in 2020.
Over the last couple of years, we have extended our main veggie patch area, to other areas of the school, to increase students participation in growing food. These areas offer a range of practical, hands-on experiences for students, to observe the life-cycle of plants, and to enjoy the fresh, healthy rewards that are produced.
In 2018, our school was very fortunate to be selected to participate in The Greener Government School Buildings (GGSB) pilot program – a new Department of Education initiative, to improve the energy efficiency of school buildings, and reduce the operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
To enhance our new system, we recently signed up with the water and energy monitoring system SWEP, to help monitor our production and usage of energy at school.
Students and staff will be encouraged to access user- friendly data, gathered from this program, to further reduce our energy, and water usages across the school. This will offer many opportunities for our students, to learn more about sustainable ways of living.
Over many years, we have steadily improved our waste management systems and practices across our school. Each classroom has a three bin system – paper, compost and landfill, which encourages students to mindfully dispose of their daily food and classroom waste.
At MEPS, we encourage our students to participate in our Nude Food program, to try and reduce the amount of plastic food packaging brought to and disposed within our school. Students are rewarded for their efforts with one grade and five individual students, acknowledged and rewarded at our weekly assembly.
As much as we can, we encourage our students, and school community, to be active participants with our sustainability program. Student’s enthusiasm to participate in a variety of initiative, demonstrates their natural optimism and willingness to do the right thing, in caring for their local and broader environments.
Over the years, our Green Team student groups have made many positive changes within our school, though a variety of initiatives and projects.