We asked the teachers at Bellbird Public School why they wanted to participate in Kreative Koalas
As a staff our main motivation to participate in this opportunity was to provide authentic opportunities for students so they could recognise problems, design solutions and be part of making a positive impact upon their own and everyone else’s future.
We know that children are our future and it is our role as educators to
Each of the initiatives we have undertaken through this project have continued, we are still working on and improving applications to embed them in all our practices and more importantly into the lives of our community members.
What was their big idea
Bellbird Public School designed their Term 2 K-6 learning programs around a whole school theme of War on Waste. This underpinned and supported all of the initiatives we undertook as part of our participation in the Kreative Koalas Create a Brighter Future Program.
All classes discussed what they felt were the main issues impacting upon the people and environment surrounding Bellbird and three major directions emerged;
- the need to reduce the amount of rubbish we as consumers were contributing to the environment
- the need to be proactive in improving and sustaining the quality of our immediate environment (Black Creek)
- our responsibility as a group to aid people less fortunate than ourselves by utilising existing resources
Once these three challenges were posed, classes and stages began planning ways they could contribute to solving them.
Initiative 1 – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (SDG 12 .5 – Responsible Consumption and Production)
We conducted a whole school rubbish audit. We sorted and weighed the rubbish collected from all bins in our school. We were amazed at many things; how much paper ended up in the rubbish, the amount of packaging and the amount of food being wasted.
Classes and our school parliament had many discussions about a plan of action. We bought individual coloured bins to sort rubbish, paper recycling and plastic recycling. These were implemented in both eating areas and the teacher’s staffroom. We access the Return and Earn program with our appropriate containers.
Classrooms had recycling bins and small rubbish bins added. Recycling bins are emptied regularly by our Environment Ministers.
Stage 2 set up worm farms and collect food scraps daily from classrooms and eating areas. These worm farms fertilise our gardens.
Each Wednesday is Waste Free Wednesday. Through this we encourage all families to making both cost effective choices and environmentally sustainable choices about the foods that are purchased and provided for daily consumption at school. It was highly evident from our rubbish audit the high percentage of pre-packaged food that was filling lunchboxes. Our community were offered alternate ideas and suggestions such as buying in bulk and dividing into portion sizes in reusable containers and cooking more nutritious options.
Awareness amongst students and staff has increased greatly about the amount of unnecessary waste we as consumers perpetuate. As our theme exposed us to information and facts about the Great Southern Garbage Patch, landfill required for extraordinary amounts of discarded clothing, coffee cups, water bottles and a wide range of reusable items, we have made changes to reduce our impact as a school and community. We have reduced the amount of rubbish being brought to school in lunch boxes, better reused resources such as paper that was going into landfill, utilised snippets from our community’s home gardens to create new potted plants to decorate our school but most importantly we have all started making conscious decisions about how our consumer choices impact upon the environment.
Initiative 2 – Improve and sustain health of our local creek and surrounding environment (SDG 15.1 Life on Land)
With the support of Cessnock City Council, Hunter Water and Bug Blitz, Stage 2 have participated in ongoing water testing, bug detecting, plant and animal species identification, weed identification and rubbish removal. Through these educational and awareness building opportunities, students have learnt about how local mines impact upon our waterways and the responsibility they have as residents to maintain their local environment.
Students have claimed responsibility for this part of their environment. Small groups of volunteers spend their lunch play time over at the creek with a teacher ensuring that it is clean, clear of rubbish, and conducting testing that is recorded directly onto an app. and uploaded onto the net. Classes visit as whole groups to undertake more thorough data collection. Our General Assistant keeps the area directly adjacent to our school mown for easy access. It is an enjoyable place to be and a lunch time opportunity students line up to participate in. Pride in and group responsibility for the area have increased.
Initiative 3: To provide assistance to those in need through utilising existing resources
(SDG 12.3 Responsible Production & Consumption)
Kindergarten sort a local charity that they could support and found Hunter Hands of Hope. This service provides daily meals and other services to the homeless in our local area. Blanchies Café in Cessnock kindly donated their left over food items that our Kinder classes cooked up into hearty nutritious meals that were delivered to the drop in centre each week by Kinder students with their parents and teachers.
As a school we have participated in terracycling of dental hygiene items, plastic lids to be made into prosthetics and reading glasses to be distributed in third world countries.
This initiative was very well received by both the charity and the people who gratefully received these meals. Both the Kinder students and their parents benefitted from this opportunity to support those in our community who are in need of a helping hand. It too provided a waste reduction of valuable food from the business. Instilling the mindset that we can all help others has been a wonderful trait to nurture.
The collection of the other items was well supported and continues.
What Did they Notice Along the Way?
*All students K-6 have had the opportunity to be involved.
*Knowledge of environmental facts has increased.
*Desire to devise plans to take action for change have developed.
*Students have included their parents and family members in their learning journey.
*Everybody has made some impact upon positive choices for a sustainable environment both at school and home.
*All of the initiatives we have implemented continue to develop and enhance our students’ lives and those of our community.
Wow – awesome Bellbird Public School
#SDG2 SDG4 #SDG12 #SDG13 #SDG15