Principal, Karen Jenkin – “We know sustainability is important to the way we live and we want it to become intrinsic to our students everyday learning. With the support of United Energy and So-Eco for Schools, we’re really confident our school will become a great role model of sustainability within the community.”
Our vision for sustainability
To become a Sustainable School by reducing Pinewood’s environmental impact or ‘footprint’. We aim to:
- implement sustainable practices at Pinewood in the areas of energy and water use, waste disposal, creation of wildlife habitat and the purchasing of products and services.
- include, where practical, themes of sustainability within the curriculum.
- foster a sense of whole school responsibility for Pinewood as a Sustainable School.
We are a ResourceSmart School
ResourceSmart Schools is a Victorian Government initiative that “helps schools become more sustainable, reducing their costs and creating real-life learning opportunities.
Schools take action to minimise waste, save energy and water, promote biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Schools are awarded ‘Stars’ for completing modules in Core, Waste, Energy, Biodiversity and Water, the pinnacle being 5 Star accreditation.
Pinewood Primary signed up to the program in September 2015 and set about tackling the Core and Energy Modules to establish processes to embed sustainability long term and reduce energy consumption across the school.
Our Sustainability Program has been sponsored by local neighbouring business, United Energy and we are supported through the program by So-Eco for Schools.
Our Sponsors – United Energy
Passionate about the environment and supporting the community, Marisa Feher and Rosie Lavin from United Energy’s Environment Team are committed to supporting Pinewood on it’s sustainability journey.
Marisa believes that, “teaching young absorbent minds the benefits and essence of sustainable use of energy is crucial to the long term reduction of impact to our environment. We are very excited to deliver innovative solutions that support the community to achieve a reduction of energy use and therefore create a better environment for them and their children.”
Our Student Green Team
Here’s what our Green Team has been getting up to and what they have to say about sustainability at their school.
Green Team Captains – Nora & Wilson
“I want Pinewood to be a sustainable school so that we will be able to protect and save the environment. Using less resources is a must! Recycling paper will help save our trees and make them last for many more years.” (Nora, grade 6)
“I want Pinewood to become a sustainable school because if we sustain our resources it helps the environment, for example we should reduce our water, paper and food scraps!” (Wilson, grade 6)
Why they wanted to join the Green Team
“I like to be a green teamer because it’s helping the environment and animals and the human race. I want our school to be environmentally friendly because it’s helping the nature around our school to be healed.” (Madeleine, grade 4)
“I joined the Green Team because I want to help the environment and make Pinewood more sustainable.” (Sarah, grade 6)
“We’re here to help save energy and the environment.” (Christian, grade 4)
“I am really happy to make the school beautiful and save the environment and that is why I am in the Green Team.” (Ash, grade 3)
“We like being in the Green Team because it helps the environment.” (Diljeet, grade 4)
Green Team Projects
Switch Off Competition
United Energy asked the school to design “Switch Off” signs for the United Energy building to remind employees to switch off lights and appliances when they leave the room.
The Green Team ran a competition across the school to see who could design the most innovative sign to deliver the right message. There were lots of great entries and three winners were chosen. These designs are currently being made into permanent signs for United Energy and will also be put up around the school.
Cleaning the pond
The pond is a much loved feature of the school and supports the school’s vision to provide a safe haven for wildlife. However, like any garden, it needs tending from time to time and the students were keen to tidy it up when it was somewhat overgrown and looking a little green.
The students wrote a letter to Ms Jenkin outlining their concerns and asked whether it could be tackled at the next working bee. Together teachers, parents and students did a great job and the pond is now clean and tidy with a new filtering system – a fantastic result!
Turning fruit scraps into food for the garden
Pinewood has a thriving kitchen garden where students learn how to plant, manage and care for their home grown produce. As part of the program, students are taught the importance of feeding the soil and the part compost has to play.
Green Team students noticed that snack and lunchtime fruit scraps were making their way into the landfill bins and so the school introduced fruit scrap bins into all classrooms. Members of the Green Team delivered them to the classrooms and spoke about how to use them and why it’s important.
The compost bins are now busy making food for a healthy veggie garden!
Our Sustainability Team
Greg Tate, Sustainability Coordinator
Our sustainability program helps children to see that their actions can make a difference. Students have many opportunities to work on hands-on projects of practical benefit to the school. Together with the help of staff and parents, our students are looking forward to reducing water and energy use, reducing our waste and increasing our living places for native wildlife. The many small actions and choices we make throughout the week can all add up and reduce Pinewood’s environmental impact.
Andrew, parent of prep student, Lucinda, explains why he feels Pinewood’s sustainability program is important and why he joined the Team
I think it’s a great thing for children to learn about sustainability and the program is a way to highlight it as being something for everyone.
I work in the IT industry where a lot of hazardous waste is generated. Our culture is such that it is cheaper to buy new than to repair old things. I’d like to teach my children to better utilize what we have before buying something new and that each new thing we purchase has an environmental impact in the future when it is thrown away.
I’m new to volunteering and when I saw the newsletter, I thought this was something I could do to be part of my child’s education and also do something good for the environment. It will be a good learning experience for me and my daughter.
Vicki, parent of grade 6 Isabella and Marissa in grade 4, talks about why Pinewood’s sustainability program needs to be a whole school approach
The program is great way to create awareness and practice sustainability within our school and filter these practices into our homes. Our planet needs our help so starting this program in schools is an absolutely must! However I feel that to keep the passion and enthusiasm going, the whole school community needs to be involved. It needs to be a commitment and a way of life from the entire school not just a small group of parents and a green team.
I joined the Sustainability Team so that I could help pass on the message to my children and all children at Pinewood, that with awareness and education, we can be a part of some fairly big changes that will protect our environment. And that all contributions, no matter how small, will have an enormous impact.
I would love for Pinewood to be leaders in other projects that Sustainability Victoria might be proposing for schools in the future. And of course, achieve our goal of all 5 ResourceSmart School modules.