Every year the IEU invites members at schools, colleges and early childhood centres to apply for a number of grants to develop sustainability initiatives.
The 2023 Environment Grants, sponsored by Teachers Mutual Bank and the union, have been announced, and include a variety of innovative and exciting projects.
Early Childhood Education and Care
The Point Preschool, Oyster Bay: Energy From the Sun
Our Energy from the Sun project will make visible our recent carbon negative initiative. Collaborating, with Solar Schools, the project will allow our preschool community to see our energy data using a display monitor. In real time the children will be able to turn appliances on/off and see the data change in 30 second intervals. This will make visible what’s affecting our energy use and support our knowledge of energy consumption.
Lismore Preschool, Lismore: Keeping the Dream Going
This project aims to revitalise the outdoor learning environment of our preschool decimated in floods in 2022. Core to this is the need to replant gutted spaces/beds, bush tucker garden, native trees, timber seating (bird watching) and insect/bee housing using information from local Elders and community. This space will benefit the entire community through the re-use of a highly valuable, long-established preschool with a nature based, wellbeing focus.
Beresfield Community Children’s Education Centre, Beresfield: A Native Connection
To create a sensory walk-through garden for our youngest children using native flora. This will build their connection to country while targeting their learning style. We have been learning to cultivate our own plants from cuttings to ensure we are able to continue topping up the garden as needed. We are sourcing further professional development for educators, so they know how to tend to the garden and convey bush tucker knowledge to the children.
St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School, Panania: Trees for Bees
The aim is to educate students about how bees are part of the biodiversity that humans and animals depend on for survival. Starting with a lunchtime club, we would explore how we can play a role in helping to maintain the population of native, stingless bees by using a portion of our school grounds to plant native flowering trees and plants, and purchasing a native beehive. This project will allow the parent community to become involved, and provide endless learning opportunities for students, not the least being the importance of making our world more sustainable for future generations.
Mt Carmel School, Yass: Extruder Club
We plan to put the money towards buying a benchtop plastic extruder for the school. We will use the extruder to recycle plastic container lids into plastic filament that can be used in moulds to make a variety of objects such as key chains, pens and combs. The moulds created will be sold to our school community through our website. Proceeds will go back into the project to buy more moulds and maintain the club.
Northside Montessori School, Pymble: Planet Fashion
Students will recycle pre-owned fabric, accessories and clothing purchased from charity shops to create a range of bespoke outfits. They will then hold an Upcycled Fashion Show complete with a student designed recycled runway for Fashion Week, 2024. Students will also sell a range of recycled and upcycled products at the fashion show and display environmental education material including info-graphs, brochures, and posters.
O’Connor Catholic College, Armidale: Tukka Garden and Yarning Circle
This garden will be a learning space for multiple faculties to engage in meaningful learning about the local Anaiwan nation, learning about bush medicine and tucker and then having a yearning space to discuss this learning. It will also make Aboriginal culture visible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, encouraging inclusivity. It will provide a native, usable green space in the school which is aesthetic, maintained and of benefit to the school and the environment. This space will have input from our students, giving them agency in their learning and cultural experience.
Lumen Christi Catholic College, Pambula Beach: Native Plants in Nature
We have recently started setting up a yarning circle for outdoor big and small group discussions. It is quite bare and would benefit with some native plants. We are hoping to involve the students in planting and creating a natural space that incorporates learning in the outdoors, stopping erosion. The students will benefit by being involved in the process and seeing the result of their work for years to come. The environment will benefit because we all need more native plants!