Biodiversity @ Blackburn Lake Primary School
Achievements and outcomes
Our three most significant achievements to become Biodiversity Smart since June 2010 are:
- The successful application for funding for a Rain Garden, and its subsequent construction. The successful application to become the first school to have a Butterfly Garden installed as part of Greening Australia’s ‘Butterfly Circle’.
- Planting indigenous plants in bare areas on National Schools Tree Day 2010 and 2011.
- Planting native grasses in Blackburn Lake Sanctuary in 2010 and 2011 as part of Schools Planting Day.
Our efforts have resulted in a Biodiversity Audit score of 76%, as assessed by Greening Australia in June 2010.
In 2012 our score was re-measured and due to following our Habitat Enhancement Plan we have increased our score to 83%.
To achieve the outcomes listed above, the school:
- Held regular, fortnightly meetings of our sustainability committee, which includes students, teachers, and parents. These are to identify projects, discuss ideas, and plan and implement improvement strategies.
- Conducted a whole school survey to identify ideas from students and teachers to improve the school grounds.
- Held out of school hours meetings involving the Buildings and Grounds committee, teachers, and interested parents to plan and implement the Rain Garden.
- Sought assistance from the school community at working bees and other times to construct the Rain Garden.
- Sought opportunities to participate in biodiversity activities in the wider community, such as Schools Planting Day.
- Participated in Schools Clean Up Day, in order to protect the biodiversity which exists in our school grounds and adjoining bush land.
- Participated in a whole staff Biodiversity PD run by our CERES ResourceSmart facilitator.
- Eco Monitors participated in a Biodiversity Audit with assistance from Greening Australia.
- Teacher and selected students attended the launch of Greening Australia’s Butterfly Circle, and received plans for the Butterfly Garden.
- Curriculum units across all levels in term two explored Biodiversity and Sustainability issues.
The major challenge Blackburn Lake Primary School has faced in achieving Biodiversity Smart outcomes has been the ongoing building works in our school. With the construction of a new hall completed late last year, we found that the school site contained a great deal of bare ground due to construction works. We were unable to improve this area until work was finished, and we again had access to it.
When the new building was complete, we then found out that the portable classrooms close to the building were to be replaced. With further work due to be carried out in the area, once again a large portion of the school grounds was fenced off and we were unable to start improvements yet. Thus improving the biodiversity on our grounds was difficult until recently, as the areas which were fenced off were those in most need of improvement.
Biodiversity Smart activities in our school are conducted by a range of students and adults.
The Rain Garden has involved the participation of:
· the school council’s Buildings and Grounds committee
· parents, students, and staff during working bees
· Eco Monitors spreading mulch around the Rain Garden
Planting for National Tree Day has involved the participation of:
· Junior School Councilors and Eco Monitors planting shrubs and grasses around the new portables
· The school principal
· Grade Six students planting in garden beds at the front of the school
· The Federal Member of Parliament
· All students in various classroom based activities.
Schools’ Planting Day activities involved:
· Grade One and Grade Three students planting native grasses in Blackburn Lake Sanctuary.
· Grade Six students who came along to help the younger students.
· Parents who came along to participate with their children, and brought smaller children along.
· Teachers and other school staff.
Student understanding of biodiversity has increased significantly over the past 12 months. This is largely due to our whole school biodiversity and sustainability focus in term two. Students have an increased understanding of local habitats and the biodiversity which exists on the school grounds, in the nearby sanctuary, and the wider environs. They have learnt the importance of maintaining biodiversity and actively fostering it.
Students have learnt the value of working together- with peers, teachers, parents and community members to create positive outcomes for biodiversity in the local area. Students have, on a more practical level, learnt how to prepare soil, plant, and care for native vegetation.
Quotes (from Grade Three students):
‘I learnt how to plant grasses so they grow and survive.’
‘We learnt about the important things in the environment, and why we need them all.’
‘I felt like I was responsible for helping make the Sanctuary a nicer place when we planted there. I can go back sometimes and see how the plants are growing.’
‘I learnt that animals need the plants that we have in our school, and that’s why we need to look after them.’
‘Biodiversity is important because plants and animals need each other to survive.’
‘I learnt that he world is a better place when we all look after it.’
What makes BLPS stand out???
- BLPS has worked hard over the past year to improve biodiversity in our grounds.
- BLPS is committed to increasing student knowledge and understanding in regards to biodiversity.
- We have built connections with the local community through our past and ongoing projects designed to enhance biodiversity.
- We seek to take advantage of every opportunity which comes from being located next to Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. We use this valuable resource whenever possible.
- Our high Biodiversity Audit score is a direct result of an ongoing commitment to schoolyard biodiversity.