An enormous thank you to all families who participated in Earth Hour over the weekend, by switching off or heading outside to enjoy nature!
Your support of, and participation in, our sustainability events and initiatives is so important and appreciated.
A special shout out to those who sent in photos/videos of their Earth Hour activities!
Here are a few photos that were sent in by some amazing Belle Vue families.
We’d love to see as many Belle Vue families as possible participate at home in the official Earth Hour on Saturday 27th March at 8:30pm. If you can’t do it at 8:30pm (especially as this may be later than some of our students’ bed times!) DON’T WORRY! Try to find ONE HOUR OVER THE WEEKEND when you can switch off to participate in Earth Hour!
Some ideas on how you could participate with your family could be: go to the park, go on a family walk or bike ride, play board games, read stories together, have dinner in the dark with candles, try candlelight paintings or art, practice yoga or play acoustic music together!
For more information and inspiration, you can check out the official website for Earth Hour 2021 here:
We hope you can be part of this event and we’d love for you to share photos/videos of your family’s participation by uploading to the google form below! Note – you may need a google account to upload a file.
Our grade 3/4 classes also linked Earth Hour to their persuasive writing earlier in the day. Students practised creating strong persuasive openers to argue why they think everyone should participate in Earth Hour.
Waste Free Wednesdays will continue on a regular basis next term. We were so pleased with the participation of families and students throughout Term 1!
The class who achieved the highest one-off participation was 1/2G with a huge 94%!
Looking at the participation across the 4 Waste Free Wednesdays in Term 1, our top 3 classes were:
3rd – Prep W
2nd – 3/4P
1st – 1/2G
We hope to see all students and teachers continue to make packing ‘nude food’ a priority every day, especially on our Waste Free Wednesdays!
After completing our Waste audit and ‘Nude Food’ day at the end of 2020, students made a goal to continue to encourage the school to make sustainable choices for their lunch boxes, by holding regular ‘Nude Food’ Days on ‘Waste Free Wednesdays’.
In Term 1 we are holding ‘Waste Free Wednesdays’ every second week, with the aim to increase to every Wednesday in Term 2. Students are enjoying participating in the initiative (with friendly competition!) and we hope to see further improvements in our waste production throughout the year!
In 2020 the world was impacted by COVID-19 and Belle Vue (among all other Melbourne schools) went into remote learning for Terms 2 and 3. Unfortunately this limited what we could achieve in our sustainability vision. We began an exciting planting project before lockdown, which was delayed and postponed a numbers of times, meaning that student involved was restricted. However, on returning on-site in Term 4, the sustainability staff and student teams were able to refocus on our goal to become the most sustainable school possible, with a few important achievements.
In early 2020, the North East Link (NEL) project approached Belle Vue to do some extensive planting on the school grounds. Our principal, Cathy Caminiti, and sustainability teachers worked with members of the NEL project, to plan several stages of planting to increase the number of native/indigenous trees and plants in our school. An edible garden for students to experience and enjoy was also planned. Students in our sustainability team have been involved throughout the whole process, initially by physically planting some of the trees (before lockdown in Term 2) in stage one of planting.
During remote learning, the sustainability students were involved by being invited to each take home and care for a tree until it could be planted at school. The students involved loved this experience, naming their trees and looking after them with dedication and pride. They learned a lot, from the NEL planting project gardener, about caring for the trees – which we hope will give them extra appreciation for our beautiful school gardens and grounds. On our return to on-site learning in Term 4, students were able to bring their tree back to school and plant it themselves.
Now in 2021 (and back at school!), we will continue and complete the planting project, which will allow for authentic student learning to occur about the native/indigenous species (including in the edible garden) that have been added to our school grounds.
Students in the sustainability team completed a biodiversity audit in Term 4 of 2020. This involved exploring the whole school grounds and counting the number of trees, plants and shrubs in the school, and identifying which were native/indigenous or introduced/exotic. It also involved students looking at specialised gardens in the school (vegetable gardens) and current processes to manage the health of the grounds and gardens (e.g. mulching, composting, weeding).
We found that we had improved our ‘Habitat Quality and Assessment Score’ from our last biodiversity audit at the end of 2019 through increased planting and management. We also identified areas from improvement and made an action plan. This included: increasing the mulch cover in our garden beds by mulching the green waste more often; doing more to manage the quality of the soil and working with our grounds person to learn about how we can do this; improving our composting system by using compost tumblers and introducing a worm farm; and increasing the native animals found in our school by introducing nest boxes and increasing the number of large logs and native shrubs.
This year (2021), we plan to work through our biodiversity action plan with students and the parent and school community. We are excited to see the improvements we can make this year!
In Term 4 of 2020, students and teachers in the sustainability teams decided to complete a waste audit to investigate the current waste processes in the school and find areas we could improve. We wanted to find out whether the students and teachers were using the current bins properly, as well as how much waste we were producing at Belle Vue. We decided to explore the use of our bins, then hold a ‘Nude Food’ day, before again looking at the bins to see if there had been any improvement. The bins we have in each classroom are waste, paper and compost.
During November 2020, we conducted a waste audit of the school’s rubbish, paper and compost bins. The staff and student sustainability teams identified all the bins in the school, took photos of the bins, examined the contents of the bins and on then again on our ‘Nude Food’ day, took a second set of photos. Once all the photos were taken the students compared the first set of photos with the photos taken on Nude Food day and recorded the difference. The 5/6 students then brainstormed goals we could set to improve waste management at Belle Vue.
Some results we found in the initial examination were: 1/2D needed a compost bin, 1/2R had plastic in paper bin, Prep W had uneaten food in bin, 3/4G had paper in waste bin, 3/4W had food in paper bin, 3/4R had uneaten food in waste bin, 3/4W had food in waste bin, 3/4R had tissues in paper bin, Library had plastic in paper bin.
When we explored our bin use for a second time on ‘Nude Food’ Day, we could identify that there was less waste on nude food day and there were improvements in waste management.
The sustainability students came up with the following goals after completing the waste audit:
-More ‘Nude Food’ days/’Nude Food’ week
-Signs promoting correct waste management around the school
-Improved signage on bins identifying what should go in them
-Waste management and ‘Nude Food’ information on school website
-Do it each month/week
-Classroom winner gets certificate/trophy
-Classroom can have a winning streak for having well managed bins on consecutive days
-The class with the longest streak gets a certificate/trophy
On Wednesday 18th November, the Sustainability staff and students teams held a ‘NUDE FOOD’ DAY to help raise awareness about the amount of rubbish we were generating at Belle Vue and promote the use of reusable containers in our lunchboxes.
The student leaders created posters during their lunchtimes to display in classrooms and around the school in order to promote the day. Team App was utilised by the Sustainability Team to inform parents of ‘NUDE FOOD’ DAY.
Our findings showed that students (and parents) were able to make sustainable choices for their lunchboxes for this day. Moving forward to 2021, the Sustainability Team and the 5/6 student leaders would like to make this a more
permanent fixture on the school calendar and introduce the concept of WASTE FREE WEDNESDAYS, aiming to not only reduce the amount of waste in our lunchboxes, but our waste overall.
We began our journey working on the water module in 2018. We recognised a bit of a culture of wasting water (e.g. using the toilet too often for an excuse to leave class, splashing each other at the drink taps, leaving taps dripping etc). We decided to register with SWEP in March and began to track our water usage. In Term 3 the student sustainability leaders decided to complete a water audit in which they found that there were many areas for which we could improve our water use/consumption. The students asked:
-How do we stop water wastage through leaking taps, drinking fountains, running water?
-How can we promote more responsible water use in our school and the wider community?
-How can we reuse water in our school?
We also realised that our tank was not being utilised! Therefore, another question students had was:
-How can we utilise our rainwater tanks?
From these questions, student leaders came up with the following actions and over the last two years we have tackled each one.
-Student leaders designed signs to put up around the school near all taps, toilets and drinking fountains.
-The Junior School Council thought of great water saving tips and the JSC president and treasurer shared these tips with the community through our newsletter.
-regular leak checking system
-method to reuse drinking fountain water on gardens
In the meantime, student leaders had also been investigating how we could use the rainwater tank water. They decided on trying to use the caught water for our vegetable garden.
Student leaders then came up with designs on how we could get the rainwater from the tank to our garden, in an economic and environmentally friendly way. The final design (using a gravity feed line instead of an electric pump) was decided on and installed with money raised by the students. Our school garden club is now using this water to water our veggie garden.
We designed our annual EnviroDay in 2019 to be based around water. Student leaders ran four activities, which all students in the school participated in. Themes included waste in our rivers and oceans and how we can better look after them, responsible production and consumption, as well how we can waste less water both at school and at home.
As a celebration of students’ learning on Enviroday, we constructed a display near the school office. This display highlights the problem of plastic waste in our oceans and the effects on our marine environment.
Belle Vue Primary School endeavours to continue our sustainable practices and learning journey in water to date. We place emphasis on Sustainability and Water as a curriculum priority and we plan and implement relevant learning sequences across all year levels.
At the end of 2019, we heard that we had successfully received certification for the Resource Smart Schools Water Module. We are really proud of our efforts, and the positive changes and habits we are making. We are excited to continue travelling along Belle Vue’s sustainability journey!
Students in grade 1/2, recently participated in a Biodiversity audit of Belle Vue Primary School.
Prior to the audit, the students did some learning about native and introduced plants. They explored WHY it’s important to have native plants in your garden. Students learned that native plants provide homes and food to native insects, reptiles and birds.
Did you know that up to 90% of all leaf-eating insects (in the world) can eat ONLY native plants!?
Below are some videos you can watch to learn more about the importance of having native plants in your gardens.
Students also learned about 3 groups of small Australian birds that they could support by having certain native trees/shrubs/bushes in our school gardens. The honey-eaters, insect-eaters and seed-eaters.
During the Biodiversity audit, students looked at different habitats such as canopy, understorey/shrubs and ground cover/ground layer.
We collected and recorded the data on the following habitat features:
-indigenous/native trees and shrubs
-introduced trees and shrubs
-rocks and logs
We also collected and recorded data about the animals we could see in the school grounds.
As part of the audit, students worked in small groups to reflect on Belle Vue’s biodiversity. They suggested how we could improve our biodiversity (goals setting) and how we would achieve these goals.
A lot of the students wanted to see more native animals in our school grounds; such as butterflies, frogs, worms and more birds and bees.
Following the audit, the 1/2 students used the ‘Birds in Backyards’ website and its ‘bird finder’ tool, to look for the birds they had found in the school. They learned about the physical descriptions, habitats and feeding information of several birds found at Belle Vue – including the Noisy Minor and the Australian Magpie.
Students then drew pictures of these birds, which we are hoping to use for signage in our school grounds in the near future!
We are hoping to improve the biodiversity of Belle Vue in 2020, by planting more native trees/shrubs and improving the amount of understorey in general.
In Term 4, Belle Vue organised a food drive as part of our focus on Global Goal #2 – Zero Hunger.
This was an idea developed by the student sustainability leaders earlier in the year. Students leaders thought that Christmas, which for some Australians is one of the hardest times of the year, would be the best time to have a food drive.
The student leader group planned the event, helped decide which organisation we would donate to, decided what we would be donating and how the food drive would be run.
The students decided that we would donate our collections to Food Bank. Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organisation in Australia. They service over 2,400 charities in all states and territories. This allows them to provide food to 815,000 people each month!
Students decided to ask for packaged food and some other essential items (hygiene products etc.). They thought about how they could motivate students and families to donate, and decided on using tubs with the School’s 3 houses (Macarthur, Monash and Chisholm) to collect donations in. The student leaders did not want to have a competition or to give out prizes, or have a ‘winning house’, as they wanted students to want to donate for the right reasons.
To say we were overwhelmed by the response would be an understatement! The Belle Vue community stepped up and donated an enormous amount during the 2 week collection period.
Below is a photo of Ms Raymond from the staff sustainability team with (just some) of the donated items! Food Bank were so impressed and grateful.
Belle Vue will continue to help fight hunger in our community!
Throughout 2019, the student sustainability leaders (made up of grade 5/6s who have chosen to work with teachers to improve the sustainability practices at Belle Vue) have been learning about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (or the 17 Global Goals).
Each of our student leaders chose one goal to do some independent research on. We then came together and worked in small groups to think about what we could do at Belle Vue to assist in the achievement of these goals. Our student sustainability leaders then picked 4 goals that we would focus on for 2019.
These were: Goal #2 – Zero Hunger, Goal #7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, Goal #12 – Responsible Consumption and Production and Goal #14 – Life Below Water.
Visit the link below and/or watch these fun videos to learn more about the Global Goals!
We ensured that the goals we chose could help us become more sustainable as a school, linking to our Resource Smart Schools areas of focus (energy, water, waste and biodiversity).
EnviroDay in 2019 was centered around these 4 Global Goals, as well as our overarching 2019 theme of water.
Our student sustainability leaders planned, prepared (with the assistance of our staff sustainability team) and ran EnviroDay (with the support of the whole Belle Vue staff). It was a highly successful and engaging day for the whole school, with students across all levels participating in fun, hands-on activities that helped them learn about the Global Goals – and what they could do at an individual and school level, to help achieve those goals.
We are extremely proud of the hard work the student sustainability leaders have put in this year to help teach their peers about how to be responsible and sustainable global citizens!
2019 has got off to a good start, with CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) coming out to do some professional learning with the staff at Belle Vue. The teachers are excited to put their learning into action, to help students learn about why water is so vital, and how we can help to protect it for all!
Throughout 2018, Belle Vue has been focusing on water. We have been thinking about how we use water, ways we can use LESS water (or use it more responsibly) at home and at school and the impacts that water pollution has on animals, environments and people.
Our annual EnviroDay in 2018 was all about water. The grade 6 leaders ran the activities and students rotated around to experience learning about water in different ways. All of the students (and teachers) learnt a lot!
Also in 2018, the two grade 6 school captains and the junior school council (JSC) president and treasurer completed a water audit of Belle Vue’s water use. They learnt about what the school already does to conserve water, as well as things that we can change or do better in order to use less water. These students made recommendations for the school to take on (these are in the process of happening!). One of these recommendations were to put signs up near taps, toilets and drinking fountains, to help remind staff and students to use water responsibly. They made some great signs that are now all around the school.
Our JSC leaders also tried to help our families think about what they can do to conserve water at home, by putting water saving tips in the school newsletters.
2019 will be a busy year putting all of the audit’s recommendations into place, and hopefully seeing some positive results!
After a lot of hard work by teachers, students and families (particularly Carl Ward, the rest of the sustainability team and our grade 6 student leaders), we achieved our goal of becoming a 3 star “Transforming” School.
While focusing on waste throughout 2017, we were able to look at our waste habits, make some changes and see some improvements in our waste contributions.
We know we still have more improvements to make, but it was great to see our efforts recognised with the addition of our 3rd star!
Below is a photo of Mr Ward looking very pleased about our 3rd star!
As highlighted by the Grade 6 Leaders at the special assembly. The whole school then took part in EnviroDay 2017 on 6th September 2017 (as part of Cool Australia’s Enviroweek). As in 2016, the event was created for students, designed by students and run by students.
EnviroDay was a huge success with the students taking part in a range of events that looked at Recycling, Reusing, Reducing and Rethinking waste.
During EnviroDay students created upcycled labels to help sell reusable fruit and vegetable bags (Freggie bags). These bags have been produced with the single aim of reducing the amount of soft plastics being produced. By ordering a bag for $5 dollars you’ll be helping the environment and contributing to future sustainability initiatives at Belle Vue. You can see more details, including how to order one by clicking on the following link:
In 2017 the focus will be on waste. Students will be devising ways of changing our habits regarding the way we recycle items such as paper and photocopier consumables. We will be trying to move towards reusing, reducing and rethinking the way we use these items. Students have taken part in a range of waste auditing activities.
The results of this audit were then communicated to the school by the Grade 6 Leaders at a special assembly. During the assembly the students presented new student designed signs to be put on bins around the school. They also reminded the school of the importance of issues such as producing zero food waste. Teachers were reminded to print on both sides of paper or reuse single sided paper. Finally, some details of EnviroDay 2017 were revealed.
Belle Vue began its journey towards its goal of becoming a five star sustainable school in 2015 and is currently a 2 star “discovering” school. Since 2015, we have significantly re-designed our curriculum so as to incorporate a wide range of integrated sustainability themed topics across all levels of the school. Energy saving measures across the school include the installation of LED lighting in and around the Administrative Building and Library (thanks to a successful application for a $10,000 energy grant). Student Leaders have run sustainability themed assemblies and been involved with our annual EnviroDay (Run during Cool Australia’s Enviroweek).
During 2016, students throughout the school designed activities for EnviroDay based on the focus of biodiversity. The event was successfully run by the Grade 6 Student Leaders. The idea of a sustainability themed day created for students, designed by students and run by students created a template for future events.
Previous Sustainability Initiatives
Click on some of the links below to find out what’s been happening over the last few years:
Grade 6’s Run a Special Sustainability Assembly
Students Involved in Planting
Read All About the Mondo Sustainability Calculator
Enviroweek and EnviroDay 2016 Poster
Enviroweek and EnviroDay 2016
Sustainability Review 2016
Recycling Photocopier Consumables as Part of Planet Ark Recycling