Oxley Park Public School is the first school in NSW to be awarded a prestigious Green Flag; a Keep Australia Beautiful Award through the Eco Schools Program that promotes environmental awareness through education.
Department of Education Deputy Secretary, School Performance – South Murat Dizdar said it’s the highest recognition given to an Australian Eco-School.
He credits the school’s strong environmental focus and the ongoing commitment of staff and students in adopting sustainable practices to be the main drivers in the school receiving the Green Flag.
“It is outstanding to see the school’s Eco-Committee, made up of staff and students, initiate a range of programs that encourage the entire school community to work together on minimising waste and reducing their impact on the environment,” Mr Dizdar said.
“I would like to give Oxley Park Public School staff members – Jayne Alba, Jenny Alberto, Ana Jurisic, Michael McInally and Kim Smith – a special mention for their commitment to the program.
“The Committee’s innovative work included reinvigorating the school grounds by creating habitat gardens that included native edible plants and small structures for local wildlife to nest.
“I was most impressed by the farm on site, which has chickens, ducks and a rabbit, as well as the Outdoor Café where students take cooking classes; they prepare meals in a great space using produce from the very gardens they tend to during the week.
“It is fantastic to see such commitment from a local school, particularly one that has relied heavily on grant funding to grow their ‘green’ program – they also save money in many ways such as using recycled materials to create garden beds.
“I am pleased to see our young people, the leaders of tomorrow, working towards a better future and I encourage all schools in our City to get on board.”
Students taking part in the daily Crunch and Sip and Breakfast Club program are able to use ingredients fresh from fruit trees in the school’s established orchard.
With the help of the Nurumittika Aboriginal Centre, the school’s Eco-Committee created a bush tucker garden while also encouraging classroom paper recycling; and running an OZ Harvest FEAST program.
The school implements environmentally friendly practices in managing waste with food scraps being composted in a worm farm, regular food audits and the school being part of the Litter Legends program.
Students are also involved in the No Bees No Future and Kreative Koalas projects and a range of healthy lifestyle campaigns.
Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB), the national operator for the hugely successful international environmental education framework and awards program, first trialled Eco-Schools in Australia in 2014. Since then, more than 275 schools have taken part.