Tulliallan Primary School’s Biodiversity Learning Story

2019 has been a huge year for sustainability at Tulliallan Primary School. The increase in students involved in the Green Team, staff in the Sustainability Committee and opportunities for community engagement has allowed us to improve the biodiversity of our school and local area through knowledge, care and action.

We began to focus on our Biodiversity module by examining our past audit data and Habitat Quality Assessment Score (HQAS) and creating an ambitious action plan which included the following goals:

  • Embed biodiversity in the school curriculum
  • Establish and maintain native and edible gardens
  • Increase community engagement in projects that promote local biodiversity

Our Sustainability Coordinators (Miss Webb, Miss Sutherland and Miss Lane) then worked with school leadership, school council, the Sustainability Committee, Green Team, students and parents to enact these goals.

Curriculum

Biodiversity was a major focus in our teaching and learning sequence this year through our whole school Inquiry into ‘Sharing the Planet’. Prep students investigated and created their own habitats for endangered species; Year 1/2s researched how human choices affect biodiversity, food webs and the environment; Year 3/4s examined the impact of pollution on the environment and its animals; and Year 5/6s explored how animals adapt to their environment and the Earth’s biomes. Students’ projects were shared with the school community and representatives from the City of Casey during our Education Week Expo which was a wonderful learning experience for all.

Photos from ‘Sharing the Planet’ Expo: Bottlenose Dolphin, Planet not Plastic,
Ocean Biome Wall & Pledges for the Ocean

Community Engagement

Engaging with broader community has been a major component of our Biodiversity Module and overall mission to promote sustainable practices. Our major achievements this year have included developing partnerships with the community group ‘Friends of the Tulliallan Elms’ to protect the heritage listed ‘Avenue of Elms’ and working with the Dolphin Research Institute through the ‘I sea, I care’ program to explore the wonders of the natural world and engage in environmental stewardship. Our students also ran a highly successful World Oceans Day event which included actions to promote biodiversity (such as a ‘Plastic Straw Extinction’ campaign, fundraising to sponsor a dolphin, creating pledges for the ocean and organising a ‘Clean Up Club’) and celebrated biodiversity in the community by creating pots for native seedlings and plants to sell at the Mini Fete. We also continued to develop our relationship with the City of Casey through parent information sessions to reduce waste and CERES Environment Park through teacher professional development and student audits.

Photos: Green Team ‘Avenue of Elms’ work, Mandy from DRI presenting
to ISIC Ambassadors at assembly (above)
Students engaged in plant and animal ID and tree planting at Frog
Hollow Reserve through ISIC (below)

Native and Edible Gardens Project

A highlight of our sustainability journey in 2019 was the re-establishment of our Edible Gardens and creation of our Native Gardens. Through careful planning, liaising with Spotless, whole school support and the assistance of Bunnings Cranbourne, the VSGP Biodiversity Garden grant and Woolworths Junior Landcare grant we were able to enact these projects. We researched and planted an array of native plants (including Grey Box, Lomandra, Fan flowers, Banksia, Kangaroo Paw and Swamp Honey Myrtle) to attract native fauna and improve habitat quality, installed additional green food digesters, worm farms and garden domes to process and use organic waste and relocated and replanted our herb and vegetable gardens.

The Green Team have since created a consistent gardening regime to monitor and care for the plants and the results speak for themselves. Our green waste to landfill has reduced dramatically, native birds and insects inhabit our gardens and we have engaged the school community in harvesting the produce.

We were also delighted to find that when we conducted our end of year biodiversity audit (which involved students surveying the school to measure and collect data on trees, vegetation, understory, habitat extras including worm farms and compost areas and native wildlife) our HQAS had increased from 59 to 74! This is a massive achievement for a school that has been only open for three years!

Photos: Native Gardens, Worm Farms and Edible Gardens

Taking action and next steps

It has been wonderful to hear about and see students and members of the school community taking action to protect the environment and its animals, adopt our biodiversity tips and engage in tree planting and clean ups in their homes and local community.

In the coming years, we look forward to working together to develop STEM projects that promote biodiversity (for example, student-designed insect hotels and bird baths), continuing to plant native and indigenous plants both at school and in the community and seeing an increase in local flora and fauna!

By Tulliallan Primary School|2020-02-07T12:29:43+10:00December 13th, 2019|0 Comments
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