Monday, October 12, 2009

selby's map a marvel

This morning I presented the students and teachers at Selby Primary School with the inaugural Best HabitAT Map award as part of the Shire of Yarra Ranges Learning for Sustainability Program.

Me pictured with the dedicated teachers of Selby Primary Schools and Learning for Sustainability officers from the Shire of Yarra Ranges.

Selby Primary School’s winning HabitAT Map entry involved a team of grade 3 and 4 students who called themselves the ‘SWAT Squad’ (Saving Wildlife and Trees). The team of students conducted an audit of their school ground’s habitat value using the HabitAT School Census; a biodiversity audit tool for schools which includes student worksheets and teacher notes made available through the Shire’s Environment Department.

The SWAT Team - Saving Wildlife and Trees.

The SWAT team then began to plan improvements to the quality of their local habitat using the school’s own fauna database and a flora list obtained from the Yarra Ranges Plant Directory on the Council’s website. The plan is an amazing mural including a replica of puffing billy, whose wheel’s detail the many elements required to improve the school’s sustainability. It is truly breathtaking.

Their plan is assisting students to make informed decisions about what to plant to encourage wildlife back into their school grounds.

This 5 metre mural was Selby Primary's stunning entry to the HabitAT Awards.

It was a great pleasure to present the school with a beautiful perpetual trophy, crafted by local scrap metal artist from Yarra Glen, Justin Purser. The school also received:
An enlarged photograph of an aspect of the school's habitat, highlighting the school's success in the HabitAT School Award, plus
$700 worth of materials provided by the Shire's Ribbons of Green program for additional understorey plants or mulch for projects within the school, plus
$400 provided by the Shire's Learning for Sustainability schools program (within existing budget). Each application must specify how the school wishes to spend these funds to enhance on-ground works and/or student learning in the field of biodiversity, plus
A choice between an excursion or incursion run by one of the supporting environmental education partners (including Natural Resource Conservation League (NRCL based at Warburton Water Wheel), Healesville Sanctuary, Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater (based in Macclesfield) and the Learning for Sustainability team (SYR)

The primary school children are very enthusiastic about their environment, their entry into the HabitAT award was outstanding and shows their great passion and commitment to improving habitat on their school grounds. Our future is in good hands.

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