What you can do at your school

Schools Environment Network North Sydney (SENNS) 

Council supports a student run network which meets once a term to discuss sustainability projects and environmental ideas. This network which was historically run for teachers (Sustainability Educators North Sydney) is now focused on empowering students to develop leadership for environmental initiatives and to share ideas for regional projects. Currently this network is run for high schools and primary schools. For more information, please contact the Sustainability Education Officer on 9936 8100. For more information about the network, see below. 

Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability School Excursions

The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability is a great facility to run a school excursion on sustainability topics. Located at Waverton, it is an ex-industrial coal-loading facility which has been transformed into a centre of excellence for sustainability by North Sydney Council. The Coal Loader showcases innovation, enables hands-on learning about sustainability in everyday life, and serves as a community meeting point and hub for Council's extensive range of environmental and sustainability programs.

 The Coal Loader Sustainability Learners Guide is available online  (see link below), or in hard copy and covers topics such as History; Aboriginal Heritage; Sustainable Retrofit; Alternative Energy; water; Waste Minimisation; Sustainable Food and Balls Head Biodiversity.  All topics are linked to the current curriculum and offer activities for stages 3, 4 and 5. 

In 2014 North Sydney schools are being offered one free facilitated session per school for one class. This offer ends in December 2014, so don't miss out on this opportunity. 

To make a booking to run an excursion at the Coal Loader, please see the link below and register your interest online. 

Sustainable Transport at Schools

Traffic around schools is one of the main causes of congestion. Solutions to reduce traffic include walking, cycling or carpooling.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Reduction in traffic congestion and parking problems around the school gate.
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Increase in health and fitness for students who walk or cycle to school.
  • Increase in social interaction for families who carpool, walk or cycle with their children to school.


Walking School Bus

A Walking School Bus™ is a group of primary school children who walk to and from school along a safe and enjoyable set route, accompanied by a minimum of two parent driver/supervisors per 'bus'. One parent 'drives' at the front of the bus, while the other parent supervises at the rear. Additional parents may be needed depending on the local requirements. The walking bus picks up 'passengers' along the way at designated 'bus stops'.

The 'bus stops' can be meeting points along the route or at homes of the Walking School Bus™ participants. The process is reversed in the afternoon, led by the same or a different adult driver/supervisor. It can be flexible to suit the needs of families using it. The 'bus' can go as seldom or as often as parents want to 'drive' it and children want to use it. This means that it can even operate as little as one morning or afternoon each week. Many schools start the Walking School Bus™ on a one-day per week basis and increase its schedule over time. The service is free. Every child is welcome to join the bus even if their parents cannot be drivers. 

Benefits of the Walking School Bus™

Many school communities have started their own walking bus programs, which support increasing needs to change our travel choices. Each child who is part of a Walking School Bus™ is potentially one less vehicle on the road. This eases traffic congestion, increases safety and reduces pollution.

The benefits of the Walking School Bus™ reach the whole community and include:

  • a safe and convenient way for children to travel to school;
  • improvement of health and well being of children through walking and talking;
  • an opportunity for children to learn road sense and traffic safety;
  • reduction of traffic congestion around schools;
  • contributing to a sustainable environment;
  • opportunities for children and parents to develop friendships and a sense of place and community in their neighbourhood.

For more information on setting up a Walking School Bus™, go to the TravelSmart website.


Ride2School Day

The Ride2School Program is designed to make riding, walking, skating and scooting the normal mode of transport for students across Australia. For more information, visit the website https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/general/ride2school/


Cycle Skills Training

Think about organising a cycle skills training session where students are taught basic bike handling skills and safe practices for riding on cycle paths by accredited coaches. The training helps boost students confidence and skills for safely riding a bicycle.


Park and Walk/Ride days

Other initiatives have involved encouraging families to park the car a short distance away from the school gate and walk/ride to school with their children.


Waste Reduction at Schools

Any place where people live or work will produce waste, including schools.

School waste mainly consists of food, paper and packaging, most of which can be easily recycled. To work out how best to minimise the waste your school produces, each category of waste (for example, food, plastics, paper) should be considered to determine the best approach for managing it. A waste audit is the best way to do this and requires looking at a sample of waste where the overall composition can be estimated. Waste audits provide information on types and quantities of waste generation and will give an idea of the school's current waste patterns.

By participating in a waste audit, students can learn about waste generation and its impacts, ideally brainstorming ways to reduce school waste where necessary and improve on its management. If you would like to carry out a waste audit at your school and need assistance or advice, please contact the Waste Education Officer on 9936 8100.

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