Enviroweek is a grand celebration of all things environmental at Ulladulla Primary School in New South Wales.
“With winter and sport commitments behind us, Term 3 is our environment focus. Each year that culminates in an Enviroweek festival that also welcomes in Spring. It’s a fun week that students, staff and parents look forward to,” explains Environmental Coordinator Gary Clark.
“We’ve joined in Enviroweek for four years now. We use it to embed and celebrate all our environmental activities and events that are conducted throughout the year. It would be overwhelming if we celebrated different things separately throughout the year.
“Having a focus like Enviroweek keeps everything we do alive, a real week of celebration for those involved and to inspire others to join in.”
Many of Enviroweek activities occur continually throughout the year but are celebrated during this week. “It’s environmental learning in action,” explains Gary.
The grand Enviroweek line up at Ulladulla includes propagating seeds, recycling paper, monitoring water and electricity usage, mulching gardens, maintaining vegetable gardens and chickens, planting vegetables and native plants and conducting a ‘Waste Free Wednesday’.
There will also fundraiser, ‘Wattle Day’ colouring-in competition, Threatened Species drawing competition, a ‘National Plant a Tree Day’ and excursions to a local National Park and Water Works.
Year 5 students have a one-night camp out on the oval and over two days participate with local High School Environmental Councilors, conducting environmental recycling audits and measuring the water catchment in the creek, along with other environmental activities and games led and designed by the high school students themselves.
“Environmental education lends itself to the immediate surroundings of both home and school. It is very real to the students. It helps us as educators introduce concepts of responsibility, sharing, management and civics.
“We try not to get too caught up in the major world environmental issues, but keep our focus on the individual and how they can play a part in helping their local community,’ says Gary.
“The decade from 2005-2015 has been declared the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development. We at Ulladulla Primary School see this as an ideal time to integrate environmental communication into the classroom. It’s hoped these children will then go on to influence their parents’ families and friends, in how to lead sustainable lives.”
Sustainability in the Curriculum’ is an online professional development course that helps you integrate sustainability into your teaching. There are specialised courses for Foundation to Year 2 or Years 3 to 6.
Shared leadership helps
Ulladulla’s large environmental program is achieved through shared leadership between teachers, parents and students who meet once a term as part of the Environmental Council. The student leadership group, ‘The Forest Ferals’, is represented by ten Year 6 Environmental Councillors.
“Sharing means it’s achievable, and we have some fun together along the way.”