Torquay Primary School
Regional: based in Torquay along the Great Ocean Road, West of Geelong. Students come from Torquay, Jan Juc and surrounding rural areas.
School size: 650 (and growing)
School website: www.torquayps.vic.edu.au
Themes: Core, water, biodiversity and energy,
Key elements: Community Links, curriculum, policy, goals and targets, baseline data, curriculum audit, monitoring and evaluation (link to Stormwater case studies – Annette Gough), baseline data, policy, whole school commitment, action plans (they have a baseline data document which also looks at operations and includes achievements, problem areas and ideas for improvement.
The school has had strong environmental education program since 1998 and this has blossomed since moving to its new site in 2002. The school, recognised for its achievements in biodiversity, joined Waste Wise Schools in 1999 and Sustainable Schools in 2003 and has since developed a model wetlands and stormwater project.
The school works with many groups, including: Gould League, CERES, Department of Education and Training, Department of Sustainability and Environment and staff from the Institute of Marine Studies in Queenscliff.
- National runners up in Hands on Habitat competition
- Selected as a model school for Victorian Stormwater Action Program Sustainable Schools pilot
- Students appeared on Totally Wild in 1999 and in 2001.
- Accredited in the Core, Water and School Grounds / Biodiversity themes
Grants and awards
- Received $2500 as runner up in the Ford One Planet Environmental Awards several years ago
- David Pace won the Science teacher of the year in 2000. The prize money of $5000 was used to start the animals in the classroom
- Received an $800 grant from Coast Action for the nursery fence
- Received a $1000 grant from Coast Action for the growling grass frog exhibit
- Received a grant from the Victorian Stormwater Action Project for the stormwater collection / wetland project.
- The school’s environmental projects have attracted a considerable amount of donated money and materials.
Within the school community
- The school’s sustainability program has promoted student responsibility, presentation skills and leadership, and has improved student self esteem, relationship skills and entrepreneurial skills.
Wider community involvement
- The school has developed links with many community groups: local Friends groups, Draper’s Civil Contracting, Conserv-Action, Otways Indigenous Nursery, West Coast Indigenous Nursery, Shane Davis, Roger Bramham Plumbing & Home Improvements and Alcoa.
- The school is also involved in environmental activities such as the revegetation of the sand dunes every year with DSE and the Queenscliff Marine Discovery Centre.
- All the environmental programs run at the school are linked to the curriculum.
- The students are actively involved in learning about the environment. This is developing skills in investigating, researching and taking positive environmental actions.
- Through the schools growling grass frogs program, students are contributing to the national database on this species.
- Excavated two large ponds (60m x 14m) and connecting creek bed
- Planted 1,500 indigenous aquatic and terrestrial plants
- Installed pebbles, soil, mulch, rocks and large logs throughout wetland area
- Established pathways around wetland
- Installed ‘Habitat’ artwork within the wetland area
- Created a bird hide and decking area
- Fenced the entire wetland and installation of three access gates
- Connected Blocks A and B to existing stormwater and then redirected stormwater pipes to ensure most runoff from buildings is channelled into the wetland
- Connected wetland to stormwater. This required 250 metres of plumbing. When the wetland overflows, excess water will be diverted into the stormwater.
- Installed a 44,000 litre rainwater tank
- There is a strong emphasis on biodiversity and creating habitat gardens in the school. The school has a harmony garden, a butterfly attracting garden, a Koori garden and a dry creek bed
- The Student Environmental Action Group (SEA) initiated the propagation and planting of indigenous plants and now the whole school is involved
- The school has a designated nursery with a water reticulation
- The school has an animals in the classroom policy
- The school coordinates a biannual Conservation Conference Camp for local schools.
“I think the thing that environmental education has done for our school is put our school in the limelight a bit with several different projects. In doing that, it has lifted the self esteem of the whole school community and staff as well as the kids when they are accepting the awards.”
David Pace, Teacher
Torquay Primary School includes a bird hide where students can quietly watch wading birds feeding and nesting in the school's wetlands pictured below.
Click to View Video – Teacher David Pace talks about funding the school's wetland. .
Several Sustainable Schools, including Torquay Primary School were provided with funding by EPA Victoria to model best practice stormwater recycling and reuse. This video may take a minute to download, please be patient!