Eco-friendly school lands award nomination

May 27, 2022 BY

Sustainability: Epsom Primary School’s Green Magpies team monitor the school’s bins and water usage and help maintain the vegetable gardens. Photo: SUPPLIED

SUSTAINABILITY-centric Epsom Primary School has landed nominations for two statewide awards.

The school is in the running for student action team of the year and curriculum leadership school of the year as part of the ResourceSmart Schools Awards, an initiative from the State Government and Sustainability Victoria.

The school’s Green Magpie team, recognised by their aprons and straw hats and led by 35 grade 3 to 6 students, helps monitor the school’s recycling, water use and other practices.

Sustainability leader at Epsom Primary, Gillian Davey, said the team was excited by the nomination.

“The Green Magpies keep track of bins, the worm farm, the vegetable gardens and our Indigenous bush block land,” she said.

“The students motivate the adults. They’re the ones in the classrooms, they’re the monitors, they’re the ones saying ‘don’t put your coffee cup there’.”

Sustainability Victoria runs a star-based system at ResourceSmart schools, which students and teachers tasked with meeting requirements in a core theory module, and specific areas such as recycling, water, biodiversity and energy.

Ms Davey said the school has worked hard to promote sustainability in the school, not just among students, but staff and parents as well.

“Recycling was a major shift in our behaviour across our whole school; it meant that we decided to go nude food,” she said.

“In 2018 we moved into a brand-new school and we saw that as a perfect opportunity to start fresh with a clean slate.

“Parents give us feedback to say it’s one of the reasons they choose Epsom Primary school, they love that we’re a sustainable school.”

During remote learning in 2020 and 2021, the Epsom students were tasked with activities such as recycling materials for art, building vegetable gardens and auditing home waste.

The winners of the ResourceSmart School Awards will be announced on Thursday, 2 June at an event at the MCG hosted by comedian Sammy J.