Recognition for sustainability advocate


​​​​(From left) Bonni Yee from Native Plants Gold Coast, Julianna Stewart, parent
volunteer Kelly Malloy, and Year 6 Sustainability Committee leader Zara Malloy​

​​​​SUSTAINABILITY is something they take seriously at St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School, Runaway Bay.

Their efforts have been rewarded at the annual with a special mention in the 2020 Sustainability Teacher Award for staff member and sustainability advocate Julianna Stewart.

Ms Stewart works tirelessly​ both at school and in her own time on initiatives that not only engage and educate students in sustainability but improve the school’s overall practices when​ it comes to sustainability.

She organised the school’s winning entry in last year’s School Sustainability Awards in addition to setting up the recycling bin and Containers for Change program.

Her advocacy stems to running the Year 6 Sustainability Committee and school initiatives such as Nude Food Month, bread tag collections and the schools very own beehive.

While the annual School Sustainability Awards were cancelled this year, the 2020 Sustainability Teacher Award went ahead.

The award recognised and celebrated school sustainability journeys while encouraging a creative, multidisciplinary approach to sustainability within schools and wider school communities.

Ms Stewart said the Sustainable Schools Network worked hard to connect teachers and staff from different schools "so that we can share our stories and help each other with what works and what doesn’t, which is a huge help to all of us".

“Establishing and growing a sustainability program at any school is a long journey with lots of small steps,” she said.

“I couldn’t do it without the support of our principal Kathy Fuller who is always open to new ideas, and also the help of one of our parent volunteers Kelly Malloy, one of the teachers Elizabeth Graham and, of course, all of the enthusiastic students.”

Ms Stewart said from a personal point of view, her aim was simple.

“I want to engage children in environmental action at primary school in the hope that they will take with them some positive learnings and memories which help to grow their interest and involvement in sustainability at high school and beyond.

“Children hear so much doom and gloom which it comes to the future of our planet and sometimes feel overwhelmed and a little helpless.

“I think it’s important for them to have their ideas heard and supported so that they can see some tangible environmental benefits from their projects.

“It makes them feel more empowered and that they have some impact on helping our planet, even if it’s on a smaller scale, like our school community.

Principal Kathy Fuller congratulated Ms Stewart on the well-deserved nomination and recognition.

“We are proud to have her as part of our school,” she said.

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