St Monica’s College is in the northern metropolitan region and 2017 has been an exciting year for students and the EnviroFriends team, with a number of activities and events they have taken part in.
World Wetlands Day was celebrated for the first time this year, whereby selected EnviroFriends spent the day tending to the school’s beautiful wetlands. EnviroFriends ran a number of activities during recess and lunch, including tree planting, looking at water bugs through the microscope, and extracting mosquito fish from the wetlands.
During Clean-Up Australia Day, EnviroFriends collected 262 pieces of rubbish from Darebin Creek. Of that, 60 chip wrappers and 21 zip lock bags were counted which came directly from their school. The Year 7-9 students collected 1492 pieces of rubbish over three days during period 6.
Chip packets (494) are the most common litter item the school collects, followed by food packaging (356) made up of zip lock bags, plastic wrap and aluminium foil. The EnviroFriend team encourages families to pack a litter-free lunch and re-fill water bottles.
To promote Earth Hour, the school hosted two concerts, one on each campus, using instruments that do not require the use of electricity. This was to promote awareness of Earth Hour and Climate Change.
EnviroFriends took part in the Adopt-A-Creek program where they worked closely with Darebin Creek Management Committee. Students took part in a number of sessions at the creek including habitat assessment, water quality testing, looking at water bugs, creek clean up and nest box construction.
During Indigenous Week, EnviroFriends researched ways that aboriginal people used the native plants found at the wetlands traditionally. Students made signs displaying this information as well as scientific facts about each plant.
On 1 September, 2017 the school celebrated Creation Day with Christians around the world. They started the Season of Creation with a Mass followed by activities each week devoted to God’s creation. These activities included the themes of Forest – where they planted trees and pulled weeds from the wetlands, Animals – feeding and tending to the school animals and Outback – Immersion students gave a presentation to EnviroFriends about their life changing trip.
St Monica’s College held a ResourceSmart School Workshop for teachers in surrounding schools. EnviroFriends hosted an Amazing Race for the teachers. This took place at various stations around the school grounds, highlighting some of the activities, the EnviroFriends take part in on a daily basis.
Students helped complete the Water Module to obtain the school’s next ResourceSmart School Star. This involved completing a water audit as well as promoting water saving ideas to the school community. St Monica’s College is now certified as a 4Star ResourceSmart School on each of their two campuses and collectively this has saved the school $150,000.
EnviroFriends entered a number of competitions including War-On-Waste and ResourceSmart School Awards. St Monica’s College were again finalists for 2017. They also entered the National Recycling Week competition whereby the Year 7 students learnt about the importance of recycling old mobile phones in their IT classes and one of these students produced the winning poster for the entire state of Victoria and has won a recycled bench for our school.
The most exciting event for this year was appearing on Channel 10 News Live Weather Report with Mr Mike Larkan, who came to the school and filmed the EnviroFriend student team at the wetlands.
St Monica’s College EnviroFriend team are very enthusiastic and passionate about the Environment and all of these activities in 2017 reflect this!
Written by Jane Burns, CERES Outreach Manager