Hawkesdale P12 College was nominated in Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Awards this year, for the work students have done during the year to promote biodiversity within and beyond the school. Many of the primary classes have contributed to the vegetable and herb gardens, as well as learning about the importance of water to living things. Year 7 students designed and constructed a “Bush Food, Fibre and Medicine” garden using indigenous species valued by koorie tribes. Year 7 students also particiapted in the Waterwatch program, which gave them the opportunity to identify aquatic macro-invertebrates and complete habitat surveys. Year 9 students repotted woolly tea-tree seedlings for the Orange Bellied Parrot Recovery Program and planted over 1,500 trees, shrubs and grasses at two locations (along the Port Fairy Rail Trail and along a creek at Greenills, Minhamite). Year 11/12 students completed quadrat studies at the Hawkesdale Racecourse Reserve and monitored nesting boxes that have been installed to prevent infestation by feral species.
Over 70 school were nominated for the awards and we were succesful in becoming finalists in the Biodiversity section, although we did not win the overall prize. Students have enjoyed the ‘hands-on’ nature of the program and become aware that theuy can make a difference in their ‘own patch’. I travelled to Melbourne with eight students who were very excited to be part of the awards ceremony and experience a day in the city. We took the opportunity to visit the Melbourne Aquarium, which has a diverse range of exhibits from the giant Murray cod and deep sea crabs, to tiny fluorescent jellyfish and colourful anenome fish. Thanks to Firestarter Ltd and other sponsors who supported the event, which was a magnificent show case of the sustainability work being undertaken in schools around Victoria.