Waste warriors recognised

Wembley Primary School principal Vassie Vatsilas-D'Arcangelo with students Alexander, Macy, Cora, Hamish, and Lilian. (Damjan Janevski) 279830_03

By Molly Magennis

A primary school in Melbourne’s West has been recognised for their sustainability efforts, having been named a finalist in the ResourceSmart Schools Awards.

ResourceSmart is a free program run by Sustainability Victoria that aims to support schools around Victoria integrate sustainability practices across their facilities, curriculum and community.

Wembley Primary School in Yarraville has been named as a finalist for the award, with winners to be announced on June 2 at an event held at the MCG.

Wembley Primary School has been recognised for the creation of the Wembley Waste Warriors (WWW), a group established by three parents to promote environmental practices within the school.

Louise Hudson, one of the parents who founded the group back in 2020, said the aim of WWW was to embed sustainability into the philosophy of the school.

“I just feel like if you have it as part of the philosophy of the school, kids that go there understand that if you go to the school, that’s just part of how you live,” she said.

Among the many initiatives the WWW have helped implement at the school, the construction of an Enviro Deck has been extremely successful.

The deck, which is now located in a part of the school that was otherwise unused, features a beautiful garden which has not only provided a safe and calming environment for students, but has also attracted 50 per cent more birdlife back to the school.

“I mean, it’s one of the conversations but there’s a massive link to mental health when you’re in a sustainable environment. So if you’ve got kids that are struggling or have anxiety, if you have an area that allows them to sit in nature [it] has huge impacts on mental health,” Ms Hudson said.

Braybrook College has also been nominated for the award for the efforts of volunteer Alex Thomas, who has played a key role in helping to implement the school’s battery recycling program.

Sustainability Victoria’s director of community action Katie Pahlow said positive sustainability actions allow students to feel as though they have influence over what happens in their world.

“Helping young people focus on what they can influence now for their future is more important than ever,” she said.