Monbulk Primary School Biodiversity Module Learning Story
2019 has seen our school start work in earnest on our final module – Biodiversity. The student Sustainability team began the audit in term four last year, and at this time (March 2019), the audit continues. So far, students have been able to identify many of the trees and plants in the school grounds as either native or exotic, based on the knowledge and guidance given by a member of our school’s parent community.
While our Water module is in the process of being verified, the Biodiversity module has been the particular focus of the student sustainability group this year. Looking at this module has given us the opportunity to assess our school grounds, and look for ways to build upon and improve the quality and quantity of native plant life, as our audit so far shows us that the plants in our school grounds are overwhelmingly exotic. The staff Sustainability team are currently in the process of consulting with local nursery owners as to what the best kinds of native plants for our school grounds would be. Using this knowledge, we hope to build upon our Habitat Quality Assessment Score by one to two plants every year from 2019 onwards, while giving these plants the very best chance at flourishing. We currently have the support of Grandview Nursery in Monbulk, who have donated twenty to thirty Lomandras for planting in Term Two 2019.
Our five sustainability captains will use the knowledge they have gained on native and exotic plants to complete the audit. They will identify the native animals, creatures and birds that use our school grounds as refuge and food source, and devise ways to encourage more native fauna to our school. We are currently working with our local Girl Guides group in Monbulk, who have agreed to construct a range of habitat extras to encourage native animals, birds and insects to our school grounds. These include: bee hotels, bee waterers, nesting string boxes, bread holders, birdhouses and possum boxes. Staff and students of the Sustainability team hope that the addition of these new homes will see a boost in the number of native fauna that visit and shelter in our school.
Our school has signed up for National Tree Day for Schools, which will take place on Friday July 26th. Through a letter of application, Monbulk Primary School has gained support for National Tree Day from Bunnings Warehouse in Bayswater. Bunnings Warehouse Bayswater will supply the materials needed for the job, as well as helpful advice and some staff. We hope that participating in National Tree Day will not only significantly boost our HQAS, but give students at Monbulk Primary valuable skills and knowledge around native plants and how to care for them. Before National Tree Day, working bees will need to be held to prepare some areas of our school grounds for planting. Appropriate soil, mulch and in some cases, edging will need to be in place before Tree Day arrives.
In March this year, a short survey was sent out to parents asking them on their attitudes toward Biodiversity at home and in schools. The survey was open for two weeks and the school received eighteen responses, which were very illuminating. The Sustainability team shared the responses with the whole school staff, and will use the information gained to make improvements and/or adjustments to our Biodiversity-related learning and practice. The results have been communicated to our school community via the Monny Mag.
Monbulk Primary School has shared information and advice related to Biodiversity in our bi-weekly newsletter, the Monny Mag, and we have the support of many wonderful parents who are helping us to make our school more biodiverse. These parents are assisting us with the Biodiversity audit, helping us to take care of our Kitchen Garden, advising us on the kinds of plants for our school grounds, and helping at working bees. Parents that are school council members help policies and processes to move through the school to achieve real results.
As with our previous modules, working on the Biodiversity module has been a team effort. It could not have been done without the support of our students, our staff, our parents, and the wider Monbulk community.
Monbulk Primary School achieved certification in the Energy and Waste modules in 2018, and Water is currently being reviewed for certification as this document was being created. Our school hopes to be certified for Biodiversity by the end of 2020.