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Sustainable Schools NSW is a project of the 
Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE), NSW Chapter
Hi Members,
Welcome to our Sustainable Schools NSW Term 4 e-Newsletter. 

Who can believe it is November already? At the moment, it is hard to escape the news of the climate crisis, along with our communities affected by drought and bushfires. In these times, local examples of positive action happening around us every day are the inspiration we need to keep supporting each other, working for change and protecting our common home. 

In this edition, we share opportunities for new sustainability education projects with the Department of Education Sustainable Schools grants, highlight citizen-science projects inviting you to connect with nature in your backyards, and celebrate the efforts of educators with stories of community empowerment and environmental change.

Congratulations to our AAEE NSW 2019 NSW Environmental Educator of the Year award winners, recently announced at the NSW Environmental Education 2019 Conference ActiveNature. The conference was a great opportunity to share experiences and learn new skills, and you can now download presentations via the interactive conference program

We are grateful for the wonderful community we have in Sustainable Schools NSW and look forward to seeing what we can achieve together in 2020. 


The Sustainable Schools NSW team.

Inspiring action

Power up with Brigidine College 

Brigidine College has become the first school in the Sydney metro region to install electric vehicle charging stations for use by the general public. With funding support provided by Randwick Council’s Environmental School Grants and Sydney Catholic Schools, the installation of 2 public electric vehicle charging stations was led by year 12 students at Brigidine College as part of a classroom project. Find out more about this fabulous project. 

Return & Earn Champions 

Year 5 St Augustine student Jack Berne, who developed ‘A Fiver for a Farmer’ recently presented at the AAEE NSW conference about his work setting up Return & Earn bins around the school grounds to collect eligible cans and bottles and donate funds back to farmers in need due to the drought. Find out more about his presentation 

Other recycling champions have been recognised through the Keep Australia Beautiful Awards. Congratulations to The Bottle Kids, Mosman Public School and Alexander Roberts. The Bottle Kids (four siblings) won the overall Return & Earn Litter Prevention Program, collecting and returning more than 16,400 containers. Wow!

Local Council support

Depending on their capacity, your local council can play an important role supporting your school on its sustainability journey. It could be a Sustainable Schools Expo (like Cumberland Council) or a Sustainable Schools Network (like Coffs Council). Check out the Sustainable Schools NSW website for links to other Local Council school networks. Congratulations to Jenny Hill, Blue Mountains City Council, awarded the Overall 2019 NSW Environmental Educator of the Year Award and Council Education Award for her work connecting kids to nature


Teaching for the climate

There are many different ways we can communicate and teach about climate change. 

Stand Up For Your Climate/Future: Youth activism is a new teaching and learning sequence that seeks to strengthen students’ critical and creative thinking skills as an integral part of becoming socially and scientifically literate citizens. The eight modules can be tailored to young people in upper primary and lower secondary. This kit was produced with assistance from the Australian Association for Environmental Education.

Consider the facts, with the newly published Climate Council report This is What Climate Change Looks Like.

AAEE NSW are submitting a climate emergency declaration submission to the National AAEE body for discussion and adoption. 

Visit the Sustainable Schools NSW website for more climate related teaching resources and information. 

Enviro-Stories inspiring literacy

The Enviro-Stories program involves students learning about their local area and passing this knowledge on to others through storytelling. You can take part in an existing program if it is happening in your region (Every Bit Counts, Hunter) or create your own through a solo program. Download stories free from their online libraryPeek Designs have run the Enviro-Stories program since 2009.

Local climate  

NSW has experienced some extreme weather over the last few months, affecting communities and the environment. Some teaching resources that may link to your local context: 
Bushfire Education Website, Victoria State Government 
Bushfires ABC Education 
Fire & Restoration Network, NSW NCC 
Climate change impacts on bushfire risks in NSW, NSW Office
Environment & Heritage
Drought lesson plan, Australian Institute Disaster Resilience
Water scarcity Digibook, Droughts, ABC Education 

Virtual Plant Cells

Connect your students with plant science, and its application to real world challenges through immersive Virtual Plant Cell learning experiences. Virtual Plant Cell is an educational virtual reality resource created for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, includes Senior Science and STEM activities.

The tantrum that saved the world

A carbon-neutral children's book designed to entertain, educate, and empower children to learn about the climate crisis, and turn their frustration and fear about this issue into positive action.


DoE Sustainable School grants

Sustainability grants are now available for NSW Department of Education owned schools, preschools and environment education centres. Apply for a grant of up to $15,000 to empower students and school communities to make schools more sustainable through curriculum linked hands-on projects. Grant applications due end November, announced February 2020. Find out more

2020 ACF Fellowship

ACF is looking for grassroots leaders, emerging campaigners and community organisers keen to develop skills, get hands-on experience and act for our forests, rivers, people and wildlife.

The ACF Fellowship Program is a six month training and volunteering program for people who are keen to gain invaluable experience as a part of Australia’s biggest environment organisation. Applications due 25 November. 

Recycle and help a chimpanzee? 

During Term 4, Jane Goodall Institute of Australia partners with MobileMuster, and PhoneCycle, to allow schools to donate old mobile phones to participate in their Mobile Phone Recycling campaign. Individuals and businesses can donate too. Visit JGIA for a poster, information and register to take part. 

Coming Up

Teaching Aboriginal Content in Stage 6 Sciences 

Teacher Professional Development training introducing some of the amazing scientific innovations and world firsts created by Aboriginal cultures over the last 60 000 years and demonstrate how that knowledge represents a unique approach to science.
21 November, Wetlands EEC, Newcastle
29 November, Thalgarrah EEC, Armidale

Mandjoogordap: Changing Tides

Save the date for the AAEE National Biennial Conference & 4th Research Symposium, 29 September - 2 October 2020, Mandurah WA.  Sharing the latest in theory, policy and practice, the focus is turning this conference moment into a movement by challenging old thinking and fostering innovation and futures thinking.

Congratulations Sue Lennox

Congratulations to environmental educator and co-founder of OzGREEN, Sue Lennox, awarded as the 2020 NSW Senior Australian of the Year. 
Sue Lennox has worked tirelessly to educate young people to take positive environmental action through education, participatory leadership and community development. Read more about Sue's work here

Mosman Public goes Solar 

With support from Mosman Council and Solar My Schools, Mosman Public School have started their journey to going solar, piloting the program on the lower-north shore. The school community raised funds through a community screening of 2040 and will soon be installing a 50kW system, providing the school with around 23% of our energy needs. Find out more about their journey.

Congratulations to Solar My Schools, who have recently been nominated as a Finalist in the 2019 Green Globe Award. 

Wollongong Environment Network

An example of a wonderful initiative of the Catholic Education Office, the Wollongong Environment Network (WEN) aims to support Catholic school communities to respond to Laudato Si’ and implement environmental stewardship and sustainability. View their blog to see how Illawarra Catholic schools are caring for our common home. 

B & B Highway

Working with community groups, Food Faith is establishing key pollinating gardens and native stingless beehives at strategic locations throughout Sydney. The B & B's Bed and Breakfasts for Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Biodiversity aim to help pollinators who are experiencing alarming declines. Pollinators are vital for biodiversity, our ecosystems and the food chain with one in three ‘bites’ of food connected to pollination. 

Sharing, connecting, practising

This ABC Education digibook Aboriginal Cultures: Sharing Connecting, Practising celebrates the resilience of Aboriginal Australian cultures. Meet some inspiring people sharing their culture through songs, stories, cooking, art, language, and knowledge of places and plants. Learn why culture and identity are so important.

Welcome to Country App

Welcome to Country App aims to educate people about Traditional Owners' culture and heritage protocols across Australia. The App, created by Aboriginal company Weerianna Street Media, uses GPS tracking data and delivers a simple Welcome to Country video and introduction to Australian indigenous culture, including basic cultural protocols that are tribal boundary geo-specific. 

Youth Solutions Report 

The Youth Solutions Report features 50 game-changing projects led by young people, accelerating global progress on the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The projects were chosen from 4,300 submissions from 174 countries and provides an opportunity for young people  to showcase their work, and presenting them with opportunities to draw interest from potential supporters. 

iNaturalist Australia

Atlas of Living Australia recently launched iNaturalist Australia the Australian node of iNaturalist, the world’s leading global social biodiversity network. Record your observations with iNaturalist Australia on your desktop and by using the iNaturalist app on your iPhone or Android device. Observations submitted here are added to the global iNaturalist database and shared with the ALA to help scientists find and use your data. 

The Pollinators

Nearly 90% of wild flowering plants and 75% of our food crops depend to some extent on animal pollination. The on-demand film The Pollinators tells a fascinating story of honey bees, and is showing in various locations around NSW in November. Supporting Australian Pollinator Week, 10 -17 November, which highlights the important insect pollinators of the southern hemisphere in our Spring season.

Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize 

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is an annual water science competition which allows high school students to create solutions for current and future water challenges. The prize is open to students between the ages of 15 and 20 years who have conducted water-related projects of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. Entries close 16 December 2019.

FaceTime a Farmer 

PIEFA is once again running FaceTime a Farmer. Get your class virtually connected with a farmer, fisher or forester on National Ag Day. Suitable for all year levels (K-12) and across all subject areas from science to business studies. Availability for this program is limited to the first 20 teachers and primary producers. Contact PIEFA

Share your story

The Last Post magazine is planning a special Education and the Environment feature for release in their national summer edition. The plan is to showcase secondary schools around the state that are enacting positive environmental plans and a focus on that in the curriculum. Any schools wishing to be involved in this historical colour, online and print feature please contact the magazine Editor. 

Did you strike? 

It's been over a month since 350,000 Australians turned out for the Global Climate Strike on September 20th 2019. The Climate Strikers are running a survey to better understand people's experiences of the Strike and what motivated them to attend. Take a moment to complete the survey and share your experience.

Get involved

7 November: Outdoor Classroom Day
8-17 November: FrogID Week
10-17 November: Australian Pollinator Week
11-17 November: National Recycling Week

12 November: AAEE NSW Helpdesk Webchat
15 November: Central Coast Green Ed Drinks
21 November: World Fisheries Day
21 November: National Ag Day
5 December: World Soil Day
5 December: International Volunteer Day
10 December: International Human Rights Day
11 December: International Mountain Day
12-16 January: NAAE Conference, Yanco. 

Celebrating Mother Earth

NSW Early Childhood Environmental Education Network (ECEEN) bi-annual conference, Celebrating Mother Earth, 9th May 2020. Early childhood educators convene at the Namaroo Conference Centre, beside Lane Cove National Park. 

AAEE Membership

For more professional development opportunities renew or join Australia's peak professional body for environmental educators today. Renew by emailing ; Become a member at 

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We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land on which we live and learn.


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PO Box 552, Round Corner, NSW 2158 , Australia

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