Clonard College is a learning community that “Celebrates all that is good with joy and gratitude” and which challenges all who belong to the school community to “Image and practise justice and service”.
Sustainability is embedded as part of Clonard’s commitment to the mission of Kildare Ministries and The Living Justice Vision which values “…all creation is recognised as sacred… and we must respect, care for and share the resources of the earth, which are vital for the common good of people. Everything is connected in an integral ecology and we need to restore our connections to a healthy state.”
The school has a long tradition of focussing on social justice and encouraging all to take responsibility for our actions and behaviours. In a very profound way, this means taking responsibility for the way that we have an impact on the environment. This is underpinned by our understanding that we are interconnected as local, national and global citizens. We see education as the most powerful tool for making sustainable change in the way that we use the planet’s resources.
Over the past ten years, we have pursued a number of strategies to reduce our environmental impact.
• A paper collection and recycling program that has been in place for 8 years, with a focus on
reducing paper wastage in photocopying
• Development of a Student Sustainability Team as part of the Student Leadership focus of the school
• Moving to electronic publication of student subject selection handbooks and other documents to reduce paper use
• Energy smart strategies such as notices above light switches reminding students and staff to
turn these off when rooms are vacant
• Year 8 Religious Education program focuses on the creation and caring for the earth.
• Major learning centres have been built with high environmentally responsible design features including louvre
windows and thermal chimneys for natural air flow, double glazed windows for heat control, maximum use of windows
for natural lighting, hydronic heating for winter and a vertical garden
• Registered as a Resource Smart School and are undertaking the Core Module
• Developed vegetable gardens and compost facilities
Brigid’s Garden is a wonderful dynamic space which enables our Garden Program the hands-on experience within a natural environment. The garden program has developed over the past 4 years with a small group of students who work in the garden one day each week. It is a fabulous opportunity to incorporate a mix of practical life-skills with connections to classroom outcomes in an integrated way.
The students have an experience of maintaining the garden with weeding, composting, pruning, watering and planting. They observe the changes occurring each week and propagate seeds in the greenhouse into seedlings which can be shared within the school community or planted into the garden. Clonard is a member school of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation (SAKGF) and through this support integrates the garden into the kitchen; selecting recipes which can make use of garden produce. We are excited about a new SAKGF pilot program which is due to commence mid-2019 in partnership with the Pre-VCAL class.
The Resource Smart Schools Program is run by Sustainability Victoria as part of the Victorian Government’s initiative in helping schools embed sustainability into their everyday activities. In 2018 Clonard College engaged with the ResourceSmart Schools Program with support from The Farmer’s Place and as a school community we are continuing to work on the Core Module. Clonard achieved five-star school status in 2014 and has begun a comprehensive review of the school’s sustainability policies and practices with a focus on Clonard’s existing practices, future goals and proposed actions in the areas of Water, Waste, Energy and Biodiversity within Campus, Curriculum, Culture and Community.
Last year Clonard hosted one of the ResourceSmart Schools Progress workshop days where sustainability staff from schools in the Western Region were invited to come together to share ideas and work on the online modules. A Sustainability Working Group made up of Clonard Staff has formed and will work together alongside the Sustainability Student Leaders to continue to develop more sustainable practices within the school community.