Green thumbs win national award
MIRBOO North Secondary College’s Landcare group received high accolades at a national conference in Sydney recently.
Landcare coordinator Allen Riseley represented the group in Sydney at the Banksia Sustainability Awards.
Mr Riseley nominated the hardworking team in two categories: the Environment Minister’s Award for a Cleaner Environment, and the Education and Sustainability award.
Having managed to attain a finalist position in both categories, Mr Riseley made the trip to Sydney for the award ceremony.
“We were announced as joint winner of the Environment Minister’s Award for a Cleaner Environment,” Mr Riseley said.
“The joint winner was a 7000 hectare eco hotel in the Blue Mountains owned by Emirates – a minnow and a whale really.”
Mr Riseley gave a four minute presentation about the Landcare group in front of 300 national delegates and environmental CEOs at the ceremony.
“In a nutshell, our school tree project at Mirboo North Secondary College involves mass population tree production. The lunchtime Enviro Team prepare seed trays with seeds from the South Gippsland Seed bank,” he said.
The project has seen native trees planted on rural properties around South Gippsland to protect native vegetation and absorb water in boggy areas.
“We produce only natives and have around 15 local species. The project has so many positive outcomes. It earns money for the school and the students get a say in how it is spent. After all they do all the hard work. The students really feel they are contributing to the community and environment,” Mr Riseley said.
“We have sold 30,000 trees over five years to around 40 properties within the shire. We have supplied trees to South Gippsland Water grants, to a $10,000 bequest for koala habitat and sold many privately. We are looking at selling trees at the Mirboo North market also.
“There was great interest in our Mirboo North Secondary tree project initiative and it would be great to see it offered to other schools. We are proud of what we have achieved.”
Mirboo North Secondary College is currently selling paperbark, prickly tea tree, sticky wattle, blackwood silver wattle, Strzelecki gum, blue gum, mana gum and hop goodenia at 75 cents a tree before prices go up to $1 per tree next year. The school is currently taking orders of more than 50 trees.
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