Some of Ballarat’s youngest environmental warriors are helping drive the sustainability movement, and their enthusiasm does not appear to be fading any time soon.
A group of 70 children from eight primary schools celebrated their work as part of their school’s ‘green teams’ at Sovereign Hill’s Narmbool on Thursday with a sense of excitement and motivation promising for the future.
They have been working to improve sustainability at their schools as part of the ResourceSmart Schools program.
These kids will be well placed to play an important role in leading the future.La Vergne Lehmann, Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group
Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group chief executive La Vergne Lehmann said the celebration day provided an opportunity for pupils to connect with those from other schools, reflect on achievements and motivate for future projects.
She said special guests Dirt Girl and Costa the Garden Gnome helped bring out their energy for sustainability.
“They completely get the idea we have to look after our resources better and we don’t want to produce as much waste as we have been, use as much energy as we have been, that we have to look after our water resources and look after our biodiversity. That all applies to their school area and their community as well as their own home,” she said.
The ResourceSmart Schools program offers a model of five star certification to track achievement in sustainability with projects driven by teachers and pupils.
No Ballarat schools have yet reached five start certification, but Ms Lehmann said St Francis Xavier, Urquhart Park, St James Parish and Lumen Christi primary schools were ‘certainly very close’.
More than 80 schools are participating in the ResourceSmart Schools program throughout the Grampians central west region.
Awards were presented to schools that excelled in the program at the celebration on Thursday.
Urqhuart Park Primary School was awarded school of the year while Bacchus Marsh Primary School was awarded for its efforts to reduce water usage.
In other categories, St Francis Xavier Primary School was awarded for energy reduction, Ararat 800 Primary School for waste reduction and Lumen Christi Primary School for its efforts in biodiversity.
Pupils also pitched project ideas to complete at their schools next year.
Ms Lehmann said it is the pupils who will continue to generate enthusiasm for sustainability projects at their schools.
“This generation of kids will be so much better educated about the limited resources we have on earth and how important it is to look after our country, our land, our planet than any previous generation,” she said.
“These kids will be well placed to play an important role in leading the future.”