Whitefriars College has a proud history of environmental awareness and conservation. As early as 1962, a Tree and Flower club had been formed by Fr Adrian Jones. The Naturalists Club was followed a few years later by a Bird Club that was affiliated with the famous Gould Birdwatchers. In 1997 The Environment Committee was created, formed by Mr. Glenn Ablett, Marie Gloag and a number of other past staff members and students, to encourage awareness and conservation of the natural environment. In 1999, these efforts were awarded by the Eastern Regions Garden Awards. This group also achieved an incredible task of transforming the former College sewage ponds into the College Wetlands in the early 2000s.
In recent years, the Environment Committee was renamed WEG—Whitefrairs Environment Group. They continued bushland conservation, ran weekly activities of gardening and hosted environment events. The College won a number of Victorian School Gardens awards during this period. Sustainability was a key theme in the 2015 AusVels study plan and the college started the Victorian Government initiative, Resource Smart Schools program to support sustainability embedded across curriculum in all learning areas. Whitefriars Environment Group (WEG) became the Sustainability and Environment Team (SET) at this time and focused on improving sustainable understanding and practices through daily resource operations, curriculum and events. Whitefriars College was awarded finalist for the prestigious Resource Smart Schools “Campus Infrastructure and Operations School of the Year”, which represents many years of the college’s commitment to waste sustainability and the environment.
Whitefriar students and staff are offered a range of sustainability experiences during learning session times, lunchtime clubs and annual events. Students and staff participate in a range of activities that involve biodiversity, waste, water and energy actions. The following is a list of some of these programs.
• National Tree Planting Day – College and House Captains
• VCAL Conservation and Management – Weeding and planting
• Water bug blitz – citizen science – Year 7 Science
• Rock and soil analysis with in house geologist – Year 8 Science
• 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
• Friars Hivers Beekeeping Club
• Melbourne Water – Frog Census
• Indigenous herb garden and planting of local species throughout College grounds
• VCAL personal garden projects
• Water Audit activity – Year 7 Geography – Students collect, review and comment on water usage at the College
• Melbourne Water – Water watch program – Year 10 science and Unit 2 Chemistry
• Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) – Water usage is logged and this data can be used in a number of applications in math and geography
• Rain water garden throughout the College
• 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.
• 5 bin system in staff rooms – paper, recyclables, organics, landfill and soft plastics.
• Recycling and landfill bins in college yards
• Dedicated composting from food tech learning area
• Worm farming
• Solar green cone compost bin for student use
• Paper and cardboard and co-mingled college skips
• National Recycle Week – Batteries, phones, clothing and paper.
• Clean Up Schools Day – VCAL group
Sustainability and Environment College Events
• Enviro Week
• World Bee Day
• Manningham City Council’s ‘Lead 2 Sustain’ workshop
• Experience Whitefriars Primary School visits
• World Environment Day
• Clean Up Schools Day
• National Tree Planting Day
• Earth Hour
• Staff File Fling
• Staff Micro Market
• National Recycle Week
Our commitment to sustainability and the environment makes the College unique. Students, staff and the wider community genuinely Belong, Believe and Become their best when sustainability and environment is at the heart of their wholistic education at Whitefriars College.