Victorian schools are among the most sustainable in Australia due to the government’s investment in the ResourceSmart Schools program. Last year Victorian school involved with the program saved $3.8 million by reducing their energy and water consumption, and by generating less waste.
Now the Victorian Government has opened entries for the state’s largest sustainability awards program for schools and early childhood services – the ResourceSmart Education Awards.
The theme for this year is ‘Imagine, Act, Inspire’ where students and teachers will aim to showcase work in reducing energy, waste and water usage, increases in biodiversity, and how they engage with the wider school community on these issues.
Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan has encouraged all Victorian schools to enter this year’s awards by submitting their sustainability projects.
“Every day, Victorian children and students are working on innovative and interesting projects that engage them on environmentally sustainable practices,” he said in a statement.
“It is great to see that so many Victorian schools and students are passionate about making positive changes in the environment for the next generation.
“I encourage all Victorian schools to enter the ResourceSmart Education Awards and share their stories.”
Professional Development Manager at Cool Australia, Kirsty Costa, told Education Matters that state government investment in school sustainability initiatives has a significant impact on what is happening ‘on the ground’ and that the Victorian Government’s 10-year investment in the ResourceSmart Schools program has seen over 1000 primary and secondary schools implement whole-school sustainability initiatives.
“Not only is state government investment a powerful driver but local governments also play a key role,” she said.
“Victoria has local teacher environment networks in nearly every council or shire across the state.
“Environment education networks are also popping up all over Sydney and there are also environment/waste education officers in local councils scattered across the country.
“Whenever a local network is created or council education officer role created, the number of school sustainability initiatives grow and strengthen.”
Costa added that it is incredibly important that all levels of government encourage, invest and recognise school sustainability initiatives.
“Schools need educational support as well as financial, educational and moral incentives to drive change in their local community,” she said.
ResourceSmart Education Awards winning schools and early childhood centres will share in $40,000 prize money.
Entries close Monday 17 August 2015.
For more information and to submit your entry, visit www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/services-and-advice/schools/education-awards