CERES Sustainability Education Outreach group has been working with and mentoring Moreland Primary School in the ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic Program since 2008. Each year CERES relationship with the school has deepened and so has Moreland Primary School’s commitment to being more sustainable. CERES has helped Moreland Primary School to foster a whole school approach to Sustainability. The whole staff, students, leadership, parents, organisations and local council have been a part of Moreland Primary’s journey.
Moreland PS has worked with CERES to reduce their waste to landfill, decrease their energy use, reduce their water consumption and enhance their biodiversity through creating whole school environmental policies, strategic environmental management plans, resource focused action plans and participating in professional development for teachers to help embed sustainability in their curriculum. On the ground sustainability auditing and monitoring has played a role also in setting goals and achieving sustainable outcomes. From 2007 until 2013 they have been monitoring their environmental impact though an online resource tracking system called SETS (www.schoolenergysavings.com.au ). In 2008 they completed a School Water Efficiency program audit. In 2010 Moreland completed a waste audit with the assistance of RMIT students. In 2012 they completed a habitat quality assessment and enhancement plan with teachers, students, parents and community agencies including CERES, Moreland City Council and Merri Creek Management Committee. In 2013 with a focus on energy they have completed an Energy Audit with teachers, leadership, students, CERES and Planet Savers. They have also been involved in qualitative evaluation and research with RMIT Global Studies where they were part of a research project to evaluate the success of behaviour change programs in schools and share their success story (refer to http://morelandps.vic.edu.au/node/24). Other partnerships have been with Yarra Valley Water education programs, EPA, Sustainability Victoria, Earth Watch and Eco Week projects, Zoos Victoria campaigns, Moreland Council Youth Summits, Friends of Merri Creek, Go for your Life, Conservation Volunteers Australia working with the school to create community vegetable plots and Community vegetable garden projects. All of these partnerships help to add a rich learning experience for teachers, students and community participants.
CERES also worked with Moreland primary school to help instigate the student environmental action team called MEPA (Moreland Environmental Protection Activators). They have played a special role in environmental campaigns and MAD (Making a Difference) initiatives in the school, attending conferences/awards events with other schools, communicating environmental messages to the school community and being environmental leaders for other students to model behaviour from. Communicating Moreland Primary School’s commitment to sustainability and current environmental projects and achievements is achieved through newsletters, their school website, assemblies, Junior School Council Nude Food Projects, environmental notice boards to inform the community, colourful school ground murals involving students and the community, podcasts created by students to promote sustainable practices in the home and campaigns with organisations such as Zoos Vic and Yarra Valley Water. Other successes for Moreland Primary School include investing $50,000 into water conservation infrastructure through the support of government grants and the development of the Prep/Grade 1 roof top garden.
Moreland Primary’s commitment to sustainability is ongoing along with its community engagement with CERES and other organisations. Schools are faced with many commitments and challenges, especially in 2013 with the AEU strike restrictions on teacher spending time on ‘extra’ projects. Moreland has maintained sustainable practices despite this due to leadership support, leading teachers being key drivers, whole staff involvement, student participation and leadership, parent participation and community mentoring and support.
CERES Education and Training Group Manager