The Australian Curriculum in Victoria (AusVELS) highlights sustainability as an important topic to be incorporated into curriculum. They state that “sustainability addresses the ongoing capacity of Earth to maintain all life. It develops the knowledge, skills, values and world views necessary for people to act in ways that contribute to more sustainable patterns of living.”
Whitefriars College is committed to connecting students’ learning of sustainability across all learning areas. The purpose for environment and sustainability co-curricular activities is for students to have the opportunity to experience and understand real environment issues relevant in today’s society.
The College is located in the ecologically unique Mullum Mullum Valley, home to the Manna and Messmate gum forests, wetlands and Mullum Mullum creek. This environment hosts a number of native flora and fauna. Whitefriars Environment Group (WEG) has operated for nearly 20 years with volunteer students completing a range of activities that, in many instances, are being incorporated into the learning areas.
Examples of environment and sustainability co-curricular activities are:
- Native Tree Planting Activity – Year 7 RE – The Carmelite ethos to ‘Walk Gently on the Earth’ is discussed during this activity along with prayers and reflection
- VCAL Conservation and Management – Weeding and planting
- National Tree Planting Day – Whole school activity
- Identifying local micro-organisms activities – Year 8 Science – Local water samples to observe and identify micro-organisms
- Rock Activity – Year 8 Science – Students explore the College grounds identifying rocks and materials with the in house geologist
- Environment Sound Activity – Year 9 Digital Music – Student’s record sounds in the bushland, wetlands and creek environments for use in creating tracks
- Native Transect Line Activity – Year 10 Science – Identifying and mapping native flora in the bushland.
- Water Audit activity – Year 7 Geography – Students collect, review and comment on water usage at the College
- Water Sampling Activity – Year 10 Science – Mullum Mullum Creek water collected and analysed for various conditions
- Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) – Water usage is logged and this data can be used in a number of applications in math and geography.
- Renewable Energy Activity – Year 8 Science – Students review and evaluate renewable / non-renewable energy types
- Whitefriars Active Science Project (WASP) – Year 8 Science – Students explore environment and sustainability themes through investigation, model making and evaluation
- Solar panels energy data investigation.
- Paper recycling in classes and the staff room
- National Recycle Week – Batteries, phones, clothing and paper.
Environment Projects and Days
- Victorian School Gardens Award – Grant for planting
- VCAL – Designing and constructing bird boxes, seating, bird hide, worm farms and steps into the bushland
- Environment Centre – Students can utilise greenhouse, planting boxes and gardening hardware
- Enviro Week Photography Competition – Year 9 Art – Encourages students to use class time to design, capture, develop, mount and enter images into the competition
- Manningham City Council’s ‘Lead 2 Sustain’ workshop
- Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Schools program
- World Environment Day
- Clean Up Schools Day
- National Tree Planting Day
- Earth Hour
- Enviro Week
- File Fling
- Staff Micro Market
- National Recycle Week
Our Science classroom frogs, stick insects, water monitors, lizards and yabbies encourage important conversations about nature and our how Whitefriars students can genuinely care about the environment.
Ms Jo-Anne Menzies