Media Release - 17 May 2011
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.
Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan AO today announced Tracey had been awarded the top honour in the 2011 Clean Up Australia Green Teacher Awards for Queensland.
“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.
Clean Up Australia introduced the Green Teacher Award to recognise teachers who have been a positive influence on students by carrying out environmental projects within their school community.
Mr Kiernan says he’s most impressed by the far reaching consequences Tracey’s program is having. “Not only have Tracey and her students made impacts in their own school community, but the students are becoming environmental ambassadors in the wider community. Then by sharing their research with kids around the world, they’ve planted the seed for a global network of environmental ambassadors.”
Tracey said, “The greatest learning for the students was probably the realisation that their individual actions can impact a global issue. For them, one of the most powerful images was of a turtle that died from starvation after the ingestion of a plastic bag. Then, they discovered the plastic island in the North Pacific Gyre and began to really consider their use of all plastic products.”
Thanks to competition sponsor SANYO, Tracey has won a SANYO eneloop prize pack for Queensland Independent College.
Details of the national Green Teacher and other state’s winners can be found at http://www.cleanup.org.au/au/LiveGreener/2011-green-teacher-award.html
Mr Kiernan congratulated all teachers who took part in Clean Up Australia Day 2011 and said he looked forward to working with the new generations of teachers and students in future years.
Marita Dortins, 0415 385 056