Sustainability Committee

The goals of this committee are:

1. To support and enhance Coogee Public School’s Sustainability Plan.Sustainibility Logo 4_172x182

• Water use reduction

• Waste reduction

• Electricity use reduction

2. To Reduce the School’s environmental footprint

3. To Educate the School Community about sustainable living

4. To enhance the natural appearance of the School and its surroundings.

Join the school’s sustainability team!

We have a keen and diverse group of parents interested in sustainability at the school.

We meet about once or twice per term, in evenings and mornings to maximise the opportunities for interested parents to attend. Details of meetings are be published in the Buzz (P & C pages at rear). If you are interested in joining us, or want to be on our mailing list so you know what’s going on, email Sue Lever.

We also have working bees approximately once per term. Details are published in the Buzz, and circulated by email to parents who let us know of their interest.

Our marvellous volunteer horticulturalist, Kathlene, usually gardens at school one day each week and is always keen for helpers, on a regular or ad hoc basis.

We welcome anyone to get involved in whatever way they can. We need people who are keen to get planting, apply for grants, build garden furniture, turn the compost, water the gardens, assist in planning and design and more!

Alternatively, you can let us know your suggestions at any time by email to Sue.

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Recent achievements:

Our blog is regularly updated and has heaps of information and pictures about our recent activities, achievements and future plans. Check it out!

In 2011, our school won two awards of which we are extremely proud:

• first place in the NSW Keep Australia Beautiful Schools Environment Awards

• second prize in the Randwick Council Garden Awards – School’s Category!

Since then, we’ve won a number of garden and sustainability awards each year, and received grants from the local council and state government in recognition of our activities and efforts.

The Sustainability Committee has worked with both the school and its out-of-hours care facility to:

• create an outdoor biodiversity garden classroom which is now used by the school to support and enhance its curriculum

• create and maintain a native haven, as habitat for indigenous species of flora and fauna

• introduce and maintain a native stingless beehive (with bees)

• grow food in raised garden beds at the school, both as a class and out-of-hours care activity involving students

• collect and compost all organic waste from children’s lunches at school

• build and maintain a frogpond

• conduct compost workshops for the local community

• educate and encourage the children about waste reduction, recycling, reusing and composting

• install a water tank to fill the frog pond and water adjacent gardens

• generally improve and enhance the landscape and gardens at the school

• continue to explore and implement options to reduce the environmental footprint of the school and the families who attend it.

Composting at Coogee Public School

In 2010, the school began separating its waste into rubbish (red-lidded bins for landfill), recyclables (eg paper and bottles into yellow-lidded bins) and green waste (eg apple cores, banana skins and other food scraps from lunchboxes into green bins). The whole school community: students, staff, canteen and care centre are involved in these efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.

From the food scraps we collect daily in the green bins around the school, we have made some wonderful compost which we use on garden beds around the school. This enriches our poor, sandy Coogee soil and makes it a wonderful growing medium for fruit and vegetables which we eat! We are also considerably reducing the school’s waste which goes to landfill.

At the end of 2014, about half our composting volunteers left the school, so we need new volunteers if composting at school is to continue.

Who does the composting?

Daily, parent volunteers sort the food waste to ensure only organic material goes into the school’s compost bin (eg wearing gloves, we pull out the odd plastic bag and bit of foil). We then add the food scraps to the school’s compost bins along with dry leaves and twigs. This all breaks down to create lovely compost which we use around the school gardens.

A great team of student helpers bring the green bins containing food scraps to the compost area after lunch each day, then return the empty bins to the playground, care centre and canteen each morning, ready to be refilled.

How can you contribute to the success of composting at school?

Volunteer to assist with the composting:

Join our happy band of volunteers! This involves a commitment of about 30 – 60 minutes every fortnight or so. No experience is necessary and the roster is flexible (so it’s easy to swap times with another volunteer). Other parent volunteers will happily give “on the job” training. Contact Sue Lever for information or to volunteer:  Deborah Kohn.

Donate your lawn clippings, garden rakings (leaves etc) or other small garden prunings:

Any time you do the gardening at home, it would be fantastic if you could collect garbage bags or sacks full of dry leaves or grass clippings and donate these to us so the parent volunteers can add this to the compost. The school generates a lot of nitrogen-rich fruit and vegetable scraps every day. Successful compost requires the addition of dry, brown garden ingredients (carbon-rich).

Put your bags of garden scraps near the compost bins next to the water tank so they don’t get mistaken for rubbish and chucked out. All the compost bins and the water tank are located in the area behind the blue gate in the corner of Coogee Bay Rd and Melody St (NW corner of the Active Playground).

Resources to guide and inspire us:

Sustainable schools website

Schools with inspiring sustainability programs: Mt St Thomas, Lane Cove Public School

Grants and funding to support our initiatives are available here.

Any questions please contact Sustainability at Coogee