Melissa Brady’s water conservation initiatives at Diocesan School recently caught the attention of Watercare, who featured her student-led activities in a customer education video.
But Melissa’s efforts to promote and practice sustainability at the school don’t stop there.
Over the course of the next few months, water meters will be installed in every building at the school to alert to an excessive use of water, such as taps left running or leaks.
Melissa, who’s been the school’s Property Development Manager for the past year and a half, is working with members of the Executive Team to draw up plans to introduce more alternative power sources at the school. There are already solar panels on the roof of the swimming pool which Melissa says generate enough power to heat the showers.
Awareness of environmental waste within the Grounds is another point on her sustainability checklist.
“This involves looking at how we treat leaves and branches, dead trees and landscaping,” says Melissa. “We’re currently looking at how we transform the area around the back of Patterson Block to turn it into a working recycling space. This area flows down into the recent transformation of the “Woodland” where our younger students can study and play.”
Food waste is also in her sights, and she points to the work currently being done by the Food Tech Department to reduce excess food waste and recycle coffee grounds. The department has instigated the use of green waste bins which go off-site for composting and Melissa is looking to increase this into using bigger bins for the Ground’s green waste from throughout the rest of the school. She adds, “And many of our staff are organising composting in their Department kitchens … everyone is getting on board!”
Diocesan’s student-led Environmental Council has started a school-wide initiative for waste-free days and Melissa says she hopes it’ll lead eventually to the eradication of litter at school.
They’re also growing the school bus network (trying to reduce the number of students who take private buses), introducing cycle training with the Junior School and working with Auckland Transport on workshops around scooter training and safety.
“The Enviro Councils in both the Junior and Senior Schools are getting everyone involved and sending a clear message that we can do things together as a school that will help make a difference,” says Melissa. “Sustainability is a key element of our strategic direction and we’re constantly asking ourselves, what more can we do?
“It’s a huge team effort and I’m really proud of the work our students and staff have done across all areas of the school.”