ACT Sustainable Merici College shows Penrith how its done

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Thursday 16 May 2013
Media Contact Alice Morgan
Phone 02 9633 1943

Penrith visits Merici College

Merici College, the winner of the Keep Australia Beautiful ACT Sustainable Cities Awards 2012 is playing host to delegates from Penrith City Council (NSW) on the 21st of May so that they can learn from their impressive sustainable garden and kitchen program.

Penrith City Council were awarded $1000 as part of their Keep Australia Beautiful Young Legends win at the National Sustainable Cities Awards held in November last year. The money forms part of a trust left by Margaret Chambers, the late wife of the Keep Australia Beautiful National Association Chair, Don Chambers. The trust aims to help youth programs, and encourage and motivate more young people to get involved in environmentally friendly activities. It’s with this funding that Penrith have chosen to see how sustainability is done in the ACT.

Aisha Poole, Waste Management Coordinator for Penrith City Council has decided to use this money to travel down to see Merici College’s outstanding project which has reduced the consumption of energy, water and waste, and encourages students to learn about biodiversity.

Ms Poole said, “We are very excited to learn from Merici’s experiences in setting up recycling and composting systems, and a kitchen garden with chickens.  We will also see how they developed their canteen and restaurant sourcing food grown right within the school!

We work with our schools providing education assistance in resource recovery, waste management and sustainability.  We know from talking to teachers that schools are interested in kitchen garden ventures.

Merici’s success in integrating sustainability across many operations within their school was recognised Nationally by Keep Australia Beautiful in 2012.  Council hope to share their experiences and inspire schools from the Penrith area to follow their lead.”

Students and staff from Colyton High, Jamison High, Kingswood High, Nepean Christian School, Penrith High and the University of Western Sydney will be joining Council staff Andrew Hewson, Sustainability Education Officer, Monique Desmarchelier, Healthy Strategy Officer and Sarah Callus, Waste Education Support Officer on the information exchange excursion.

According to Peter McLean CEO of Keep Australia Beautiful National Association said “The Merici College students’ enthusiasm for their kitchen garden program is really encouraging in setting an example for other schools in the territory, as well as the country. Their garden is a hub for learning sustainability practices, new skills and innovative thinking.”

Penrith City Council won the 2012 Young Legends award for involving children and youth in community planning and action towards sustainability is a key component of the Sustainable Penrith program. Council implements education activities and partners with a range of agencies to integrate sustainability into the activities and spaces for young Penrith residents.


About the Australian Sustainable Communities Awards

Keep Australia Beautiful seeks to lead, challenge and inspire all Australians to strive for a sustainable and litter free environment.  It does this through research, communications programs and awards programs.

Its national awards are known as the Australian Sustainable Communities Awards which consist of the Tidy Towns, Sustainable Cities, and Clean Beaches Awards.  Each awards program commences with state and territory awards and culminates in a national Grand Final event.

The Sustainable Cities Awards are open to metropolitan communities. Our major cities are home to 77% of the Australian population, and have absorbed 80% of the population growth over the last 40 years. They are heavily exposed to the impacts of climate change. While our cities are among the most liveable in the world, they lag behind on some aspects of sustainability when it comes to energy consumption, car dependence and equity, with a stark and growing divide between the opportunities available to residents of the inner suburbs and those available to residents in outer urban areas.

There are a number of areas where Australian cities perform well internationally. Urban air quality is generally very good, with concentrations of all pollutants usually falling well below our national limits. Residential per capita water consumption has decreased 35% over the past decade. This improvement has been driven by water efficiency innovations and behaviour change campaigns during drought years.

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