Somerville Rise Primary School is a school committed to environmental sustainability, and the school’s Sustainability Education Centre provides students with opportunities to take a ‘hands-on’ approach to learning about looking after their local environment.
The Barn’, as the Centre is affectionately known, has a propagation facility where students can learn how to grow plants from seed. Students grow organic fruit and vegetables, and they love ‘sampling’ beans, tomatoes and peas from the plants they grow.
Along with fruit and vegetables, students also produce native plants that are indigenous to the local environment. These plants are then sold at low prices to the local community for use in gardens in Somerville. The money raised from these sales goes back into the program.
The centre itself is a model for environmental sustainability. All plants are grown from sustainable seeds, and seed is collected from indigenous plants to add to the Centre’s seed bank. Water is collected for the plants in a 30000 lt water tank, and all sprinklers run on an automatic programmable timer. Worm farms even turn food scraps from school lunches into fertiliser for the plants.
The program is closely linked to the school curriculum. Students learn about environmental issues, working in groups and solving problems in a real-life context. An environmental consultant is employed regularly to teach the students how to propagate and care for the plants they grow.