Bethal PS Biodiversity Learning Story

In 2020 and 2021, we at Bethal Primary School have been focussing on completing the biodiversity module for ResourceSmart Schools and have been working towards achieving our second star. Since beginning our ResourceSmart Schools journey, students and staff from Years 3-6 have worked with Melissa from Hume City Council to conduct a Schools For Nature Annual Biodiversity Audit of the school grounds. Through these audits, the school has recognised the need to increase the number of native plants within our school grounds, with the hope of attracting more native wildlife and improving our biodiversity score.

In 2020, the school received a Schools For Nature grant from Hume City Council and a Junior Landcare grant and with these grants we were able to plant and create an Outdoor Tranquillity Garden and Classroom. Students in Years 5/6 held a planting day with the support of Melissa from Hume City Council to create this garden space. The space includes a large variety of native plants, a raised garden bed, birdhouse and bird baths, large wooden table and bench seating. It is a space students and teachers can go to learn in and about nature.

In 2021, the school received a Biodiversity Garden grant from the Victorian Schools Garden Program. This grant will be used to revive several bare garden beds throughout the school grounds. Students have worked to create designs using native plants and will be planting at the beginning of 2022.

To protect the biodiversity of the school and school grounds, students participate in the ‘Bethal Bob’ every Friday after Recess. Students work in their House Teams to collect as much rubbish as they can from the school yard and playground. The house that does the best job of cleaning up their area receives house points. The school also participates in Clean Up Australia Day each year.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, the students and staff have participated in several activities to improve their understanding of the importance of biodiversity. In April 2021 the whole school participated in an incursion by ‘The Connies’ where Roberto, a tram conductor and ecologist, gave each student a set of biodiversity cards with facts about animals from our local environment. He talked with the students about the characteristics of these animals, their local habitats and the importance of looking after our local environment. Students and teachers have also participated in Citizen Science projects aimed at improving biodiversity, including the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and recording animal sightings using the Climate Watch app.

The programs we have implemented at the school through completing the biodiversity module have improved student and teacher awareness of the importance of biodiversity and taking care of our environment. Students enjoy finding wildlife out in the school yard and many are eager to work in the school gardens, watering and caring for the plants.