St Columbkille's gloves up for Clean Up Australia Day
St Columbkille's students have joined thousands from Catholic schools across the Diocese in gloving up for Schools Clean Up Australia Day. From clean ups of school grounds and local parks to themed classroom learning and activities raising awareness amongst students and staff, our school has embraced this year’s theme, ‘Change Starts With You’ by taking action to protect and care for their local environment.
Participating in the Schools Clean Up Day has been a fun and engaging way for our students to learn about the best methods for disposing of waste and the damaging environmental repercussions of dumping rubbish irresponsibly, while playing an active role in the solution by helping clean up their local area.
Following Pope Francis’ call to environmental action in his encyclical, Laudato Si’, the staff and students of St Columbkille’s were keen to be involved in this important environmental event. With gloves ‘on hand’, staff and students from Kindergarten through to Year 6 cleaned up allocated areas in and around the school and church grounds, including the Parish Centre grounds and the adjacent laneways, as well as the neighbouring Midgely Street and Princes Highway footpath.
Assistant Principal, Maria Disibio, praised the classes for collecting a massive 14 official Clean Up Australia bags worth of rubbish – more than half of which were full to the brim by the end of the day. The students also collected a number of recyclable items, which they placed in the school’s recycling bins.
“All our students did a remarkable job of cleaning up the school grounds and we are all very proud of their efforts,” Ms Disibio said.
“I think it is important to clean up our environment so animals don’t eat our rubbish and get sick or die,” Year 4 student, Athanael said.
Not-for-profit environmental conservation organisation that started this community event 30 years ago, Clean Up Australia, says every young volunteer across schools and youth clean up sites is ‘AWE-some’. That is:
- (A)wareness – their eyes have been opened to the scale of rubbish that is harming our environment and wildlife;
- (W)ellbeing – their reward is a better understanding of how keeping the environment healthy is part of leading a healthy life;
- (E)mpowerment – they are now empowered to continue to take positive action to make their schools, clubs, sporting grounds and outdoor spaces the cleanest places they can be.
“The kids of Australia, led by their teachers and youth leaders, are showing us all that they really care. Their efforts across the country are raising awareness and developing leadership skills as our young people take up the challenge of creating a more sustainable and waste-efficient future,” Terrie-Ann Johnson, Clean Up Australia Managing Director said.
An encouraging additional dimension of our school's environmental awareness and action is that our ongoing focus is now as much on preventing rubbish entering our environment, as it is removing what has already accumulated – initiatives such as waste-free or ‘nude food’ lunch days, adopting a more environmentally-friendly multi-bin waste management system, and our participation in the Vinnies ‘Return and Earn’ program.
St Columbkille's was one of several CEDoW schools who participated in Schools Clean Up Australia Day. Read more from across the Diocese here.