Busy EP teachers attracted to Sustainable Schools Initiative

News article |

Teachers, educators and students are some of the region’s most enthusiastic sustainability change-makers and Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula is keen to help local schools and education centre’s get the help, resources and direction they need through the South Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AuSSI- SA).

Natural Resource Management Officer Barbara Murphy said Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula staff can assist schools to develop their school Site Environment Management Plan (SEMP) and help them use the established AuSSI- SA framework.

“Schools across the region are already doing really great things like supplying recycle bins, composting organic waste, maintaining kitchen gardens and making nature play areas in schools but in an ad-hoc kind of way. We find often sustainability initiatives are driven by one keen person and can unfortunately lose momentum once that person leaves the school, “ Ms Murphy said.

“Once your school has a SEMP you can envision what you want your site to be like , for example, five years from now and set small achievable goals to put your team on the path of realising that vision,“ Ms Murphy said.

Natural Resources staff are here to offer a helping hand to local schools to adopt the Education for Sustainability principles in their learning and management practices and work powerfully as a region wide collective.

“We encourage schools to start small. Narrow their focus to a single theme or project such as ‘waste’ or ‘biodiversity’. For busy educators using a ‘themed’ approach is a good way to get started and makes implementing sustainability initiatives manageable,“ Ms Murphy said.

Primary School Teacher, Rudell Helmers said her school, Samaritan Saint Teresa’s Primary School in Whyalla, is working in partnership with NREP and has registered with AuSSI-SA.

“We’ve taken a themed approach and will be concentrating on waste this year, but have a longer-term plan to develop an outdoor classroom.Right now I’m in the process of conducting a sustainability audit for my school so we can see what we are already dong and where we would like to go. My next step now that I’ve registered with AuSSI-SA is to develop a SEMP, which will be part of our action plan for the future,” said Ms Helmers.

“Natural Resources staff have provided me with all the resources and templates I need to carry out the sustainability audit and develop a SEMP. Having a structure and taking a planned approach has helped me to get others at the school on board, and Natural Resources are giving us a financial incentive towards implementing our sustainability initiatives,“ said Ms Helmers.

“I’m really excited to be among the first of the schools in our region leading the way with the sustainable schools initiative and can’t wait to get started and see where it takes us,“ Ms Helmers said.

Four Schools on Eyre Peninsula have registered with AuSSI-SA. Lake Wangary School near Port Lincoln was the first school to partner with National Resources Eyre Peninsula.

More recently Tumby Bay Area School and St Josephs School in Port Lincoln have signed-up, joining the ranks of more than 350 AuSSi-SA registered schools across the state.

For more information about becoming a sustainable school and registering with AuSSI-SA contact Barbara Murphy on 0427 188 546 or email barbara.murphy2@sa.gov.au

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