The winners of the 2017 Council Environment Program were announced today at a student leadership day at Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park.
Six schools from around the coast were recognised for their participation and creativity around this year’s theme Our Green Classroom, which aimed to encourage outdoor learning.
Niagara Public School received the Innovation Prize for their Future Earth competition where students made boomerang bags for local supermarkets, built bird habitat boxes and conducted a school wide energy audit.
Wyoming Public School displayed the most involvement in the Biggest Green Classroom, with the entire school conducting all lessons outside during international Outdoor Classroom Day.
Brisbania Public School won the Most Improved School, for enthusiastically involving themselves in all activities offered.
The overall Environmental School of the Year awards went to Chertsey Primary School (Small School of the Year) and Wyoming Public School (Large School of the Year).
Pretty Beach Public School won Best Performance after taking on the ABC War on Waste Challenge, with a very informative and impassioned speech on our need to avoid plastic bags and single use plastics in order to reduce the amount of plastic rubbish ending up in our oceans.
Mayor Jane Smith said the initiative runs parallel with school environmental educational programs.
“Council’s School Environment Program aims at building an understanding, appreciation and concern for our natural environment,” said Mayor Smith.
“The program is designed to integrate with the programs offered by local schools and the Department of Education.
“It’s imperative that we impart this knowledge in our schools so kids are aware of their environment, how to look after it and the impact it has on their lives.
“Their involvement means they are learning how to recycle better, consume less, be water wise, reduce waste and energy, and enjoy nature.
“Most of all they learn that small changes can make a big difference and that they have the ability to protect the environment.”
Council Group Leader Connected Communities, Julie Vaughan, said the program is especially important in this day and age.
“In the age of technology, this year’s program encourages schools to spend more time outdoors and less time in front of the screen,” said Ms Vaughan.
“Outdoor classrooms are part of a worldwide education movement aimed at increasing learning outside. It offers many positive effects on behaviour and learning, such as increased academic performance, resilience, communication, general wellbeing and engagement.
“I hope that many schools continue with their efforts and pass on their knowledge to their family and friends. Congratulations to all the schools who have participated for making a positive effect on our environment.”
Council would like to acknowledge the partnerships with Rumbalara Environmental Education Centre and Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park for this year’s Schools Environmental Program.