Within Victoria there are a range of fantastic sustainability programs that assist schools from initial concept through to completion. These programs either require your school to commit to the program by signing on to the program or by paying a fee for service. These programs include:
River Detectives is a multi-region pilot program funded by the Victorian Government as part of the Healthy Waterways program with four Catchment Management Authorities (North Central CMA, Wimmera CMA, Corangamite CMA and North East CMA) and Melbourne Water participating in 2017.
The program is building teachers’ and leaders’ capacity to explore and understand their local waterway with students, providing them with support and equipment. It is a citizen science program as students are collecting water science and waterbugs data which is a part of the Victorian Waterwatch database.
The program develops student knowledge of catchments, waterways and their health, and the environment which is supported through a website with activity ideas and resources. It aims to connect students to their local waterway by encouraging them to carry out hands-on activities to test the water while also increasing their understanding of the role of waterways in the catchment. The program aims to develop future stewards of our rivers and catchments.
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CERES (the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) is a community environment project located beside the Merri Creek in Brunswick. CERES has facilitated over 250 schools, including the only forty-three 5 star fully accredited Sustainable Schools in Australia.
Gould Group designs innovative environmental education and training in sustainability. They have delivered educational programs to over 600,000 students, 1,400 schools and 300 teachers each year throughout Victoria alone. Their programs reach over one million Australian students annually.
Landcare provides a structure and support for schools to incorporate studies of sustainable agriculture and natural resource management into the curriculum.
National Solar School Program
The Australian Government is backing our schools in the fight against climate change. The National Solar Schools Program is giving Australian schools a head start in tackling climate change and conserving our precious water supplies.
The Planet Savers program engages with local schools to increase awareness of greenhouse and other sustainability issues and to support and work with them to reduce their energy consumption.
ResourceSmart offers solutions to steer us towards a low carbon future. ResourceSmart's 5Star Sustainability Certification helps your school demonstrate continuous improvement against benchmarks you set in the areas of planning, biodiversity, energy, waste and water.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment and Gould Group have developed a professional development and curriculum program for Victorian schools on environmental sustainability. This program has been running since 2005, reaching 90 schools in regional and metropolitan Victoria, and uses "the Sustainables" as a teaching tool.
SWEP - School Water Efficiency Program
The Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) is a state government initiative designed to help schools identify leaks and faulty appliances quickly, saving water and money. SWEP provides schools with data loggers, a dedicated website, free curriculum materials and a support service to help them. Participating schools have already saved more than $3m in water charges and saved more than 1 billion litres of water. Even schools that only have tank or bore water supply are eligible to participate.
The Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) now offers eligible schools with the opportunity to participate in a pilot program to monitor school electricity use. The electricity data is presented on the SWEP website in a similar manner to the existing water data and can be access through the same login. Complementing this information, a dedicated curriculum resource is being developed and is expected to be available in 2015. Contact SWEP consultant Andrew Hinchliffe firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Waterwatch Victoria is a community engagement program connecting local communities with river health and sustainable water management issues. Through Waterwatch, groups are supported and encouraged to become actively involved in local waterway monitoring and on-ground action.