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Caring for the Environment

Promoting ecological conversion and environmental sustainability

At St Mary's Star of the Sea, our students and staff take an active role in being stewards of creation and 'caring for our common home’.

Inspired by Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, Laudato Si’, our school community understands that we have to respond to the environmental challenges of the 21st century with creative and thoughtful planning, education and concrete actions that can make a difference to the health of our planet, all people and all creatures.

Our commitment to being responsible members of Planet Earth is evident in our classroom learning and teaching, the prayer and liturgical life of our school, our resource and grounds management, and whole school planning for community initiatives that contribute to the betterment of our environment and our relationships with one another.

Our St Mary's school community is involved in a range of initiatives that empower our students to support the ongoing care of creation through:
  • Student Environment Group
  • Curriculum integration of environmental awareness and sustainability
  • Participation in environmental action and awareness initiatives ('Green Days') – including Clean Up Australia Day, Earth Hour, Earth Day, World Environment Day, Tree Day and/or National Recycling Week
  • Outdoor learning spaces
  • Filtered water stations supporting reusable water bottles
  • Installation of solar panels
  • Vegetable, herb and/or fruit gardens
  • A waste management system that includes recycling and composting
  • Minimal waste lunchboxes
  • Eco-friendly infrastructure – including solar panels, water tanks, LED lighting and/or sensor lighting
  • A School Environment Management Plan (SEMP)
  • Staff Environmental Coordinator (WEN contact)
  • Celebration of the ‘World Day of Prayer of the Care of Creation’ and the ‘Season of Creation’
  • Earned Environmental Education Grants to further our environmental projects
  • Active members of the Wollongong Environment Network

Our school also has a School Environment Management Plan (SEMP) which identifies and plans for our key environmental actions and projects. These include:

  • Recycling – ensuring that the environmental footprint of the school is minimal:
    ○ Cardboard/ Paper, Composting, Paperless Communication with parents.
    ○ Recycling of soft plastics
    ○ Low waste lunchboxes
  • Regrowing After the Fires:
    ○ Being involved in 'Regrow Conjola' – nurturing plants for families who lost their houses
    ○ Re-establishing trees and gardens lost in the bushfires
    ○ Installation of water tanks
    ○ Planning of new school garden and Indigenous planting area
  • Rejuvenation of Playground:
    ○ Incorporation of outdoor play areas, mud kitchen, water pump and water/sand run

For more information, visit the CEDoW Wollongong Environment Network

The History of Milton

Video credit: Jamie Lepre from Mane Collective.