To garden is to care deeply, inclusively, and audaciously for the world outside our homes and our heads. It’s a way of being that’s intimately interwoven with the real truths of existence – not the things we’re told to value (money, status, ownership), but the things that actually matter ( sustenance, perspective, beauty, connection, growth). To be a gardener is to be invested in a place – to know it, to protect it and to be present. Georgina Reid, The Planthunter
It has certainly been a challenging year but so many times, while we have been planting and harvesting, I have heard the words ‘Ms, this is so therapeutic’ and that’s what the garden has been; a place to go to where we can forget about all our problems and talk about our hopes and dreams.
Despite the challenges of this year, we have planted seeds with girls from primary schools on Be a Merici Girl for the Day, we have sown and nurtured hundreds of seeds in preparation for the Merici Grower’s Sale in October, we have harvested food from the Merici Garden for the canteen and the Hospitality Department and we have explored worm farms and started a trial in taking coffee grounds from Intra Coffee in Campbell.
In class, we have discussed food supply chains and the importance of eating and buying local and keeping our food waste out of landfill. More recently we have looked at energy efficient and passive solar building design principles with the aim of incorporating these into our mini greenhouses and testing their effectiveness. This has been a great exercise in putting theory into practice and we are looking forward to testing them out next term.
‘Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future’ – Robert H Schuller
Sustainability at Merici (SAM)
Despite the COVID challenges of 2020, Merici has continued to build sustainability promoting momentum by taking a range of actions to further reduce our environmental footprint and raise awareness with our students and the wider school community.
Following publication of the 2019 Yearbook, Merici was acknowledged by the ACT Government with the awarding of Sustainable School of the Year. In Term 1, 2020 we were awarded our 5-star accreditation for our performance in the areas of waste, energy, water, biodiversity and links to the curriculum.
Since Term 3, we have been working to implement an energy monitoring system to identify usage and savings for the school. This will compound the savings already made by the installation of the solar system in 2019 and delivers environmental and economic benefits into the future. The system will also provide useful teaching material for STEM and sustainability subjects as well as more broadly including business and economics.
Since the installation of our solar system in early 2019, over 70,000 kilograms of CO2 have been saved. This is the equivalent of planting over 2100 trees.
Led by our Sustainability Captain Imogen Simmons, we have held many activities this year. Among them we held a whole school screening of “The Story of Plastic” via Zoom, had an excursion to The Hackett Compost Collective, held an incursion with the ACT’s Young Australian of the Year Maddie Diamond to hear about her sustainability journey, collaborated with Daramalan to hold a joint Q&A with Damon Gameau, the producer of the documentary film 2040, and expanded our recycling to capture more soft plastics, as well as beauty product packaging in our Terracycle House competition. Students also participated in World Environment Day, National Tree Day and held a sw(op) shop to exchange unwanted fashion items to prolong their life and keep them out of landfill.