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2011 Green Teacher Award

Clean Up Australia is searching for the country's Greenest Teachers!

The Green Teacher Award show-cases environmentally motivated teachers and their green projects, lesson plans or other sustainability initiatives. Clean Up Australia is proud to acknowledge the efforts that these Green Teachers make right across schools in every state and territory Australia wide.

Clean Up Australia would like to thank Sanyo for proudly sponsoring the Green Teacher Award for the third consecutive year.


Each state/territory winner will receive a Sanyo Eneloop kit containing: one pack of 4 AA battery cells (4HR3UTG2), 2 packs of 4 AAA battery cells (4HR4UTG2) and 1 quick charger with 4 AA battery cells (NCMQR06). The overall national winner will in addition receive a PDG-DWL2500 (ultra short throw projector).

National and Northern Territory State Winner

Sandi Burt, Bees Creek Primary School, NT

Sandi Burt’s hands-on approach to environmental education has been a winner with both students and the local community.

Ian Kiernan has announced Sandi had been awarded the top honour in the 2011 Green Teacher Awards not only in the Northern Territory, but Australia-wide.

Sandi was faced with the challenge of raising awareness and changing behaviours in a community that doesn’t have even basic local recycling. In response, she organised an activity where kids cleaned up an area then classified all the waste removed from the environment.

A ‘Bottle Boy’ and ‘Glass Girl’ were constructed from the rubbish in order to send a strong message about the quantity of recyclable waste found along the community’s roadsides.

Sandi was very pleased with the community’s response to the project. “Litchfield Council invited us after hearing of our work on the airstrip to assist with their research; NT News ran articles; and the conveners of our fete supported us running a recycling stall,” she said

New South Wales State Winner

Raquel Spratt, Blakehurst High School, NSW

Raquel Spratt is leading students in a blitz on excess energy and water consumption, earning her the title of NSW’s greenest teacher.

Led by Raquel, the students at Blakehurst have been able to achieve amazing outcomes – they have conducted a full audit of their school’s energy and water consumption, and have taken some very impressive measures to reduce their footprint

The school has installed solar panels, spring loaded taps and dual flush toilets. Bubblers and re-usable water bottles have been introduced to reduce reliance on bottled water, and recycling and compost bins are being trialled.

Victoria State Winner

Jan Hare, Epping Views Primary School, VIC

Jan Hare’s ‘nude food’ promotions, rubbish-free lunch challenge and fresh chook eggs have made her a winner with students and with Clean Up Australia.

Jan has organised the students of Epping Views into four action teams, who are responsible for waste, water, energy and biodiversity in the school.

“Jan has engaged students and the local community in sustainable living through education, competitions and whole host of practical initiatives to reduce the school’s footprint,” said Mr Kiernan.

“A big achievement has been the way in which she has encouraged kids – and their parents – to change their behaviours by rethinking everyday decisions. Even actions that can seem small all add up to make a significant difference to health of our planet.”

Mr Kiernan said that educating our children is one of the most important steps we can take for the environment.

“Jan is educating a new generation of environmental ambassadors. The students at Epping Views Primary School are taking their understanding of environmental issues into the wider community, making sure their parents understand the issues as well as they do.”

Colleague Brooke Layton, who nominated Jan, said, “Jan has ensured all students, teachers and the wider community are educated on the importance of reducing waste as well as useful ways to reduce food scraps. All students have taken responsibility for their own waste and know how they can use it effectively.”

Queensland State Winner

Tracey Sheppard, Queensland Independent College, QLD

By showing students how their individual actions can impact a local issue, Queensland Independent College’s Tracey Sheppard is educating a new generation of environmental leaders.

“Tracey spent 2010 focussing on plastics and marine debris with her students,” said Mr Kiernan. “The judges were incredibly impressed by the fact that a group of students shared their learnings at the International Kids Teaching Kids Conference.  

“This final outcome followed extensive research, including seminars from experts and even the creation of a catchment model demonstrating how debris travels from source to sea.”

The program led by Tracey also had practical outcomes, with a significant reduction in waste production. This was achieved through worm composting, recycling and paper re-use bins, proposals to restrict plastic-bag use within the school, and use of the school garden in more cooking projects to reduce packaged food entering the school environment.

Western Australia State Winner

Melita Harmer, Ellenbrook Secondary College, WA

Faced with the challenge of a large school with a high waste footprint, Ellenbrook Secondary College’s Melita Harmer has undertaken practical steps to create positive environmental outcomes in her school community.

Melita set out to revolutionise the way her school thought about waste. “I think our schools biggest downfall is the lack of recycling programs in place for paper and office supplies – especially considering we are so large,” she said.
Following an awareness campaign on the importance of recycling, she has worked with other teachers to introduce paper recycling to every classroom, as well as setting up facilities to recycle mobile phones and printer cartridges. She ahs also facilitated a peer-to-peer campaign to reduce litter in the school environment.     

“The trickle-down effect of this kind of initiative can’t be underestimated,” said Mr Kiernan. “Melita is educating a new generation of environmental ambassadors. The students at Ellenbrook are taking their understanding of environmental issues into the wider community, making sure their parents understand the issues as well as they do.”