Sustainability 'Planting' Itself at St Luke's Grammar School

Kaila A and Claudia C | 2021 Sustainability Captains | Grammar News | 6 November 2020

Recently, teachers and students with a passion for the environment came together to create a sustainability group within the Senior School at St Luke’s. Our goal is to help our environment and community by making St Luke’s more sustainable. We aim to spread awareness about the impact our actions have on the environment and to also teach and educate everyone on how to help the environment, and leave a more eco-friendly footprint. We hope to promote sustainable practices both within St Luke's and to the wider community. In terms of sustainability, the things we'd like to see change within our tenure as Sustainability Captains would be a reduction in waste, changing everyday habits and culture towards the way we use our School resources and environment, and greenifying the School through increased plant life.

In the past few months we have been busily growing plants and planning on how we can cultivate a more environmentally conscious and active School culture. To begin our journey we planted Woolworths seeds that were donated last year by students, as well as some additional seeds that were donated by our local Bunnings. We planted the seeds in self-watering pots that we created from recycled milk cartons and bottles from the Canteen and Staff Room. Once these seedlings became more mature, we moved them to larger garden beds to support their growth. We would like to thank Ian from ‘Waterups’ who helped install our new wicking garden beds. These wicking systems support the movement of water by ‘capillary action,’ where water is drawn upwards due to surface tension and the interaction of adhesive and cohesive forces. These new gardens are located behind the demountable building on the top courts and in a large area behind the stairs in the Senior School.

Last Wednesday we had a large delivery of soil and a group of teachers and students gave up their time after School to transport it all to the garden beds. After we filled them, we planted everything that we had been growing. We also worked to install donated rainwater tanks on the top court which can be used for the gardens. Thank you again to those who stayed to help!

In the near future, we plan on installing a composting system and worm farm to save landfill of food waste from the Canteen, a vertical garden to effectively use the space we have and create more garden beds throughout the School for use at the Canteen, the future Food Tech rooms and possible produce stalls for the St Luke’s Community!

A big thank you to Ian at ‘Waterups’ for his hard work and expertise in installing our new Waterups wicking systems. We would also like to thank our local Warringah Mall Bunnings for their generosity in donating supplies for our projects. But most importantly, we would like to thank Mr White for his passion, care and time in creating such an important group, we couldn’t do it without you.

We would like to encourage anyone who is interested to come and join us any day during lunchtime! We would love to hear any ideas you may have on how we can continue to make our School Community a more eco-friendly and sustainable place.