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.”
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 “an award-winning Victorian Government program that assists schools to embed sustainability in everything they do, encourages real-life sustainability learning and helps schools save money.”
Our school achieved its first two ResourceSmart stars in 2016 for the Core and Energy modules and in 2019 we received our third star for the Waste module. Our school is currently working towards our fourth star.
The Green Team Story
Our community is very proud of the progress made towards embedding sustainable practices into the daily routine of staff and students. Litter in the school yard was a major concern of the student-led Green Team. Their commitment and passion has resulted in a range of initiatives that have had a positive impact throughout the school.
Lights Off and ‘Just Right’ Temperature Signs (2022)
The Year Four students designed new posters (replacing posters which were first introduced in 2016) to remind everyone to switch off the lights and keep the classrooms at recommended temperatures to save electricity. This highlighted the commitment of the student body to improve sustainable practices. Student designs have been implemented throughout the school as a constant reminder to save energy.
Biodiversity Audit (2022)
Our student Green Team helped to conduct a biodiversity audit in 2022. Students counted the number of native grasses, shrubs, and trees on our school grounds. They calculated the amount of mulch used in garden beds and investigated how this affects the soil quality. We are hoping to improve our biodiversity by adding some more native garden beds and birdhouses around the school.
Energy Audit (2022)
Our student ‘Green Team’ helped to conduct an energy audit in 2022. Students recorded the number of lights, fans, and electrical devices around the school. They measured the temperatures in the rooms and compared them to recommended temperatures. We are hoping to further reduce our energy consumption by the use of the student created signs that remind everyone to switch off the lights and devices when not needed, and to keep the temperature in the room in the recommended range.
Sorting Waste (2022)
The Green Team conducted a litter assessment of the waste accumulated at school and presented their findings at a school assembly. The students noticed that items able to be recycled, and food scraps, were making their way into the landfill bins. Their concerns led to the school revising the bin system. We converted from separate recycling bins to sturdy mixed recycling bins to make the process of recycling easier for students and staff. We also partnered with Monash Council for an organics waste pilot program. All organic waste can now go into our green waste classroom caddies. The waste is collected by Monash Council and turned into lovely compost for Victorian farmers. Members of the Green Team delivered the bins to the classrooms and educated the students about how to use them and why it is important.
Water Audit (2019)
Our student Green Team helped to conduct a water audit in 2019. Students assessed the school’s water infrastructure (taps, tanks and watering systems), water use and possible water savings. We hope to reduce our future water consumption.
Litter Free Lunch Boxes (2018)
Litter free lunch boxes are an easy way to improve the school environment along with waste sorting bins for hard plastics, paper and landfill. The Green Team have educated the entire school community on how to reduce and sort waste using a four tier waste management system by conducting information sessions at school assembly and through the school newsletter. The students wrote a Nude Food Policy that has had significant benefits on both the environment and our school. This initiative has reduced waste to landfill and saved money for the school.
Cleaning the pond (2016)
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. The whole school community worked together to improve the biodiversity of the pond.
Our Sustainability Team
Sarah Pereira, 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. In 2017 a student team delivered workshops on the theme of energy use at the national Kids Teaching Kids Conference. We welcome and appreciate the contribution of the Pinewood parent body in assisting the Green Team to achieve their goals.
New parents and staff who want to be involved are encouraged to contact the school’s Sustainability Coordinator.
Helpful Sustainability Resources