Sustainable Schools Program (past project)




“If young people fail to see a role for themselves,
Transition will lose the engagement of a crucial
part of the community”. 

Rob Hopkins “The Transition Companion”



This program is designed to help local schools establish sustainability projects by providing support through:

  • Providing a website based activities register
  • Contact with all of local organisations through HSG and MiT mailing lists, including such groups as the Organic Growers, The Permaculture group and other Community Garden Groups
  • Centre for organisation of workshops/demonstrations/ collaborations and other events.
  • Resource centre for environmental and related material for local schools.
  • New event potential to further attract and involve people with school activities.
  • MiT believes that School Community Gardens can be the catalyst that sees new initiatives developed involving other groups in the community through local organisations such as Rise, Men’s Shed, Rotary, the Shire and other groups

Notes from the inaugural meeting:

383 copyPatrick Crichton welcomed attendees and introduced the group to HSG describing it as a group of Hills residents interested in fostering a more sustainable way of life and caring for our environment. He also explained why we care; suggesting that we currently using our planet’s resources and polluting the earth at levels that will change both the environment and our communities in ways we can’t yet fully understand. Patrick also distributed pamphlets on MiT (Mundaring in Transition) stating the MiT was modeled on the International Transition Initiative movement emanating out of the UK. He informed the meeting that a group had been formed to initiate a Transition project in Mundaring based on the international model.

How can HSG  help School Sustainability Programs?  – Keith Sillitoe

Keith suggested that the HSG Schools Sustainability Group needs to be driven by the schools themselves, not HSG. HSG will help facilitate ideas and act as a central distribution point for the dissemination of information through the HSG and MiT Websites. HSG and MiT have members with considerable expertise and sustainability qualifications very useful for schools. Keith explained that he is happy to present at schools and that his experience as a Living Smart presenter meant that he had much to offer schools. Keith then asked schools what they saw as priorities to move their sustainability programmes forward and a number of people responded that funding was always a problem given the vagaries of government grants and funding. It was asked if anybody had explored local sponsorship support. The example set by Rob Gear at Forrestfield P.S. was put forward as an exemplary school/community project.

Andy Durant had, up until recently funded much of what he had achieved through funding received from the collection of aluminum cans, however the company he worked with no longer was prepared to take the cans and he was unaware of any other company that would take the cans. Other members including Rebecca O’Reilly, said that they may be able to locate alternative collection agencies. Another issue raised was how to get school gardens though our hot summers when the schools virtually closed down. It was suggested that this could be a topic for a future meeting.

Presentation – Metro Schools Coordinator Waste Wise Schools Program Department of Environment Regulation – Cara Williams

Cara introduced the Waste Wise concept now a programme of the WA Waste Authority. Cara encouraged teachers to check out the website for further information:


The website states:

“Waste Wise Schools is a major strategic partner of the Waste Authority. Now in it’s 10th year, the Waste Wise Schools Program helps schools reduce the waste they send to landfill through encouraging attitudinal and behavioural change in regard to waste and its impact on the environment”.It includes resources and support for teachers.

Cara Williams informed the meeting that Waste Wise now had  5 staff, provided workshops and teacher relief full day for workshops and provide funding grants of  $2,200 or $4,400. Details are available on the website

Cara can be contacted at:

Sawyer’s Valley Primary Sustainability Program and Tour – Lucy Blair

Lucy outlined the many facets of the Sawyers Valley Sustainability program, which included excellent features such as:

  • Green team of students across grades who help maintain projects
  • An extensive Recycling program.
  • Recycled material utilised from original school  building.
  • Regular Busy Bees
  • Waste free lunches
  • Staff have attended EMRC waste programs.
  • Extra scraps are given to parents with chooks.
  • Tanks installed
  • Sensory garden
  • Built a cubby out of recycled material

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Patrick Crichton commented that with all of that going on, when did they get time to teach!

Lucy then took the meeting attendees on a tour of the school sustainability features which were very impressive.

The group then returned to the staff room and Patrick and Keith thanked the school for the use of the facilities and the teachers who attend the meeting.

233 copyRoss Mars informed the meeting of the work he was doing through Water Installations and outlined the work he had completed at SVPS.

Patrick asked if any school present would be prepared to host the next meeting in first term next year. Rebecca O’Reilly from Helena Valley Primary School offered to host the next meeting in first term next year at a time and date to be announced.


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