Lau­ris­ton Girls School a sus­tain­abil­ity win­ner

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

THE Howqua cam­pus of Lau­ris­ton Girls’ School has won this year’s En­ergy School of the Year Sec­ondary cat­e­gory for its Black Bal­loons ini­tia­tive.

The pres­ti­gious award is part of Sus­tain­abil­ity Vic­to­ria’s Re­sourceS­mart Schools Awards and recog­nises the school’s pas­sion and com­mit­ment to cre­at­ing a sus­tain­able school and com­mu­nity.

The Re­sourceS­mart Schools pro­gram in­spires students and their schools to take ac­tion on sus­tain­abil­ity and cli­mate change, while pro­vid­ing new learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Lau­ris­ton’s sus­tain­abil­ity team, the ‘Greenies’, have worked hard over the years to make the Howqua cam­pus a 5Star Sus­tain­able School, show­ing great com­mu­nity lead­er­ship along the way.

Sam Ri­d­ley, the vice-prin­ci­pal at Howqua said that Howqua is a res­i­den­tial school so en­ergy is be­ing used dur­ing the day and night.

“The en­ergy chal­lenges at Howqua are dif­fer­ent to most other schools so it has en­cour­aged our teach­ers and students to think broadly about sav­ing en­ergy,” said Mr Ri­d­ley.

Students sleep in houses of 10-12 and so the ‘Black Bal­loons House Com­pe­ti­tion’ was cre­ated to mea­sure which house can use the least en­ergy each week.

“En­ergy mon­i­tors were in­stalled in each house and the num­ber of black bal­loons gen­er­ated each week was cal­cu­lated.

“One black bal­loon rep­re­sents 50 grams of car­bon diox­ide re­leased into the at­mos­phere that con­trib­utes to cli­mate change.”

The re­sults from the weekly con­sump­tion are dis­played in the din­ing hall and the house that pro­duced the low­est num­ber of black bal­loons is awarded the “Green House Award”.

The pro­gram has led to a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in en­ergy use, with ap­prox­i­mately 500 less black bal­loons be­ing re­leased each week.

Sus­tain­abil­ity Re­sourceS­mart fa­cil­i­ta­tor Alice Rus­sell man­ages the pro­gram for the North East re­gion of Vic­to­ria.

Ms Rus­sell works with a num­ber of schools in the re­gion.

“Lau­ris­ton students are on cam­pus seven days a week so not only is re­source use much higher than a stan­dard school, but they have to teach a new group of students about sus­tain­abil­ity ev­ery year,” said Ms Rus­sell.

“Sci­ence teacher and sus­tain­abil­ity co­or­di­na­tor Bri­ony Daven­port has done an amaz­ing job work­ing with staff and students to em­bed sus­tain­abil­ity and aware­ness of re­source use into the school and I’m sure the girls go back to Mel­bourne with a much greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion of their en­vi­ron­ment.”

S i n c e c o mmenci n g t h e Re - sourceS­mart Schools pro­gram, the Howqua cam­pus has stopped 238,600 tonnes of CO2 from en­ter­ing the at­mos­phere and saved $61,753 in bills.

Students at Lau­ris­ton are ac­tive in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

This year they were in­volved in the roll out of the “Don’t Waste Mt Stir­ling” litter re­duc­tion pro­gram with Mt Buller Mt Stir­ling Re­sort Man­age­ment and have also planted hun­dreds of na­tive trees in the Win­ton Wet­lands as part of the Re­gent Honeyeater Pro­ject.

“To be named a fi­nal­ist or win­ner in the Re­sourceS­mart Schools Awards 2017, is a trib­ute to the hard work of t he school com­mu­ni­ties across Vic­to­ria,” Min­is­ter for En­ergy, En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Lily D’Am­bro­sio said.

GREEN AWARD: The Lau­ris­ton sus­tain­abil­ity team the ‘Greenies’.

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