All three of Firbank’s campuses are participants in the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative. We undertook the program in 2010 to formalise our commitment to operating in more sustainable ways and since this time we have completed four modules and been awarded ‘Two Stars’. As we progress through the program, we are enhancing our connections with local community and further integrating sustainability education into the curriculum. Student action teams have played a significant role in planning and implementing environmental programs and leading cultural change at their campuses.
Our senior students have participated in a number of environmental conferences and programs, such as Powershift and Tomorrow’s Leaders for Sustainability. Through their involvement in such programs the girls have led local community campaigns, planted and harvested vegetable gardens and conducted biodiversity audits of the campus grounds. In 2011 and 2012, a group of our Year 10 girls competed in the University of Melbourne’s Think.Act.Green. environmental leadership program, winning the program both years and being awarded a total of $10,000 to implement their delamping projects within the School. In 2014, our students are taking part in ‘Start the Shift’, an Australian Youth Climate Coalition program aimed at empowering young people with the skills and knowledge to initiate positive environmental changes in the community. We have also launched the Firbank Keep Cup, now available for sale at the Senior School book room. All profits from the sale of Keep Cups go to Environment Victoria.
Our very enthusiastic junior school students have taken part in Walk to School Safely and National Tree Planting days. Year 6 students at the Sandringham campus hosted their own Sustainability Exhibition, inviting members of the local community along to learn about sustainable practices and the environment. In 2011, Sandringham House was the recipient of a National Solar in Schools grant which facilitated the installation of a solar panel system which we use to track and offset our energy consumption. At the Brighton campus, students have been active in Clean-up Australia Day, creating edible gardens and participating in local wildlife surveys.