St Columba’s wins Green School of the Year!

St Columba’s took home the award for ‘Green School of the Year’ on Friday – the top prize at the 11th Annual EcoCentre Sustainable Schools Festival.

The ‘Green School of the Year’ Award recognises a school for extraordinary, whole-school progress and community leadership for sustainability.

The EcoCentre made a special note of the activities that saw St Columba’s leap to a 3 Star ResourceSmart School being:

  • the school’s sustainability leadership that spans students, parents and staff;
  • the annual hosting of a Port Phillip-Bayside Teachers’ Environment Network workshop;
  • environmental curriculum and infrastructure retrofits for energy, water and compost; and
  • impressive community engagement – from blogging to Well Waters volunteering.

The school received a wonderful Buddy Bench donated by Replas (see pic of Audrey, Nina and Thomas testing out the new bench!). A Buddy Bench is a permanent place in the school with a very special purpose. Children are encouraged to sit on the bench when they are feeling left out or bullied. If a classmate sees a student sitting on the bench they are urged to invite them to play, walk or talk with them.

Replas make their benches by recycling soft squishable plastics. So if you’ve ever dropped your bags at Coles or Woolies they may be part of this very bench!

Ben McCulloch from Replas spoke at the Festival and showed students the chopped up bags that become the ingredients for the recycled plastic ‘timber’. The beauty of the bench is that it employs the same features that make plastic a problematic pollutant – making it a strong and long-lasting school yard feature!

The school also received a show bag of green prizes and community experiences – including a bike from Back 2 Bikes who kindly donated a bike to every school at this year’s Festival.

The EcoCentre Sustainable Schools Festival featured 15 Kids Teaching Kids workshops and three films presented by 12 Melbourne schools. St Columba’s student workshop featured a biodiversity game called Habitat Match.

Well done St Columba’s Eco Warriors, the teacher and parent Green Team, and all of the students, teachers and families that have helped our school become the Green School of the Year! A very special thanks also to the wonderful Port Phillip EcoCentre for their help and guidance on our sustainability journey.

Keep up the great green work everyone!