In Sustainability, students have explored the topics of food and water, transport, and biodiversity as well as honing their skills in the kitchen garden.
In Semester 1, students focused on sustainability issues surrounding commercial food production and access to clean drinking water by looking at how common foods are mass-produced and the environmental impacts of the food we eat. Students also explored sustainable and emerging farming practices, such as vertical and urban farming, and how these initiatives can have positive effects on global warming and climate change. To demonstrate their knowledge in this unit, students designed and built wicking garden beds or storm water filters using recycled or sustainable materials. Wicking garden beds are effective solutions for both small and mid-scale vegetable growers as they reduce the amount of water wasted by evaporation, reduce the workload of watering gardens and increase local food production. Effective storm water filters improve the quality of water entering Canberra’s storm water system and help to remove pollution from our environment.
In Semester 2, students have learnt about the carbon footprint of a variety of transport options and how carbon emissions from transport contribute to the enhanced greenhouse effect. They explored the viability of introducing an e-Bike lending scheme at Merici College, in partnership with ACTSmart Schools, as well as evaluating Canberra’s current transport options.
It has been a busy year in the kitchen garden with students learning the skills needed to grow fruits and vegetables for use in the canteen and the Bridge Restaurant. In Term 1, students harvested hundreds of kilos of tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, corn, capsicums, pumpkins, beans and more, followed by preparing garden beds, planting seedlings, rotating crops, and sowing new plants for the next season.
Mrs. Erin Barry
Sustainability at Merici
“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” – Dalai Lama
Under Captain Colette Paterson, there has been a lot of action to create a more sustainable future and to raise awareness about the importance of sustainability promoting daily actions.
Over 30 ‘Greentips’ have been circulated so far this year to the College Community. Practical actions in Term 1 included a Terracyle collection for bottle lids, oral care product packaging, PPE face masks and makeup packaging and have given our community the opportunity to divert waste from landfill as we focused on waste reduction strategies. Energy reduction activities in Term 2 included Earth Hour.
Our biggest project of the year has been the ecosystem restoration and rewilding project in collaboration with the local Landcare group and with the dedicated oversight and guidance of Alice Hathorn from ACT Urban Woodlands. This has kept us busy for most of Term 3 and we are not done yet.
The lettuce sale and sw(op) shop are coming up in Term 4. Last year's funds provided our SAMs with an organic, fairtrade, ethical t-shirt which aligns with the group's sustainability values. The sw(op) shop diverted many kilos of clothing from landfill with gold coin donations going to the WWF.
Our biggest achievement this year has been the recipient of Awards in the ACT Government Climate Choices Schools Awards 2022 – Winner Sustainable Leadership Award for the SAM Team, Winner Sustainable Project Award for the Biodiversity Restoration and Re-wilding Project, Sustainable Leadership Award Secondary Student - Colette Paterson, Sustainable Leadership Award Staff - Felicity Maher. Congratulations to all our committed sustainability team at Merici. It is our mission to take sustainability promoting action in all that we do!
Ms. Felicity Maher