By Jodie Gray, Student Council Coordinator, Year 6 Teacher
At Yorkeys Knob State School we’ve been planting seeds of sustainability and they’re starting to bloom! The Student Council, comprised of 20 representatives from Grades 4 – 6, supervised by Ms Gray (Year 6 Teacher), have implemented a number of programs to reduce waste and promote sustainable practices. We have recycling bins in each classroom that are collected and emptied into a larger recycling bin for pick-up. Some of the paper is shredded and used for mulching gardens.
Late last year we constructed a new vegetable garden in a central location, which consists of 12 beds. This year, classes have enjoyed using the garden for Science investigations such as growing beans. Through the hard work of Ms Belinda Challis (Teacher Aide) and the Vegetable Garden Club students, our garden has produced cabbages, radishes, beans, tomatoes, and more. Recently, our produce took out many prizes at the Cairns Show.
A big push this year has also been to reduce food and wrapping waste. Last term, we removed the rubbish bins in all eating areas and introduced scrap bins for the collection of organic waste. Zero waste lunches means any rubbish is taken home, which reduces waste at school and also helps parents to keep track of what is eaten. Scrap bins are emptied into our compost bins and turned into food for our vegetable garden.
Our P&C run tuckshop, the Curlew Canteen, is also committed to improving practices and they’ve introduced a system of reusable lunch boxes where students receive a reward for returning containers after eating. To promote our school’s sustainability drive of recycling and zero waste lunches, the Student Council held a recycling poster competition. The winning designs have been made into bin stickers for our yellow-lid bins and large posters, displayed around the school. The remaining entries have been laminated and will soon be used to decorate classroom bins.
Our Global Tropical Future students, supervised by Mrs Frumento (HOC), are also working on a recycling art project. They are in the designing stage of creating a mural made out of 100% recyclable material sourced from the school community. This project will be completed by the end of term and the mural will be placed near the Tuckshop. The long term goal at YKSS is to enculture sustainability as the norm, not as the novelty!