Yarra City Council have demonstrated outstanding commitment to sustainability. There were 16 projects that were entered into the awards and all were of an excellent standard. Notable projects included the Roads to Parks Program, the restoration of the Collingwood Town Hall, and the work that Melbourne Girl’s College are doing which is supported by the Yarra City Council. In your Patch is an excellent example of community and government partnerships. Celebrating Aboriginal Culture in Gertrude Street was an innovative community engagement and consultation project, which sought to reinstate and share the prominence of Indigenous history in the area. The Victoria Street Gateway celebrates Vietnamese and Chinese culture, and is a landmark to mark out the area.
Yarra City Council have also shone in the field of litter prevention. In 2014, Yarra City Council introduced bin beautification to reduce litter. The bright artwork of the bins has had a positive impact and the campaign has been successful in reducing litter. Additionally, the council introduced the Recycling more, Waste Less campaign, which included a number of initiatives to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. It has successfully increased recycling levels.
The work that Yarra City Council is doing in carbon management is noteworthy. Yarra City Council is carbon neutral and is seeking to reduce emissions by 60 per cent and produce at least 1,250t CO2-e from onsite renewable sources. Schools in the Yarra City council area are also showcasing amazing work in the sustainability field. The University of Melbourne Early Learning Centre has been a pioneer and long-time leader in early learning and sustainability. In relation to resource recovery and waste management, Yarra City Council has partnered with other councils to deliver the program Food Know How. The program is a pilot project grounded in community participation and behaviour change. Finally, Yarra’s Urban Agriculture project is the first of its kind in Australia. The project is a resident led, council supported process for establishing street and footpath planter boxes, nature strips, vegetable gardens, community orchards and community gardens
DAME PHYLLIS FROST AWARD
Tony Herwerth is a Senior Land Manager at Melton City Council and has supported and been involved in Melton’s community groups for over ten years. He is an outstanding environmental leader in Melton, particularly in the field of environmental protection and conservation. Tony received his initial training in horticulture at The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London, and then completed a Diploma in Conservation and Land Management at the Northern Metropolitan Institute of Tafe in 2005. There are over ten groups in Melton that Tony supports and he also supports individual landowners undertaking environmental works. Tony has developed strong relations with the community which have assisted Melton becoming a more sustainable city. He has negotiated many state and federal grants for landowners and community groups in Melton. He has attended many of the Friends and Landcare meetings, assisted in planting days and works with the community environmental groups every year on plans for planting. Tony also manages the council’s environmental reserves including roadsides.
He has been particularly active working in protecting grassland herb species in the region. Tony has worked with Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group and the CFA on Bush’s Paddock, that has transformed the paddock from a weed infested reserve, to one that is now showing its full potential. It will hopefully continue to develop into one of the outstanding grasslands on the Western Volcanic Plains. Tony has developed a program of establishing various plantings of grassland herb species. At Hannah Watts Park a major area for recreation in Melton, Tony has helped develop an educational resource for local residents and schools to educate them on grassland species. Tony was instrumental in the initial mapping of the flora assets found in the City of Melton – which has provided council officers with information to educate the public. It also contributes to the management of public reserves. It has included the identification of endangered flora so that the correct management can be put in place.
MELBOURNE GIRLS’ COLLEGE
EDUCATING FOR THE FUTURE
Melbourne Girls’ College (MGC) has been leading the way in educating for sustainability for many years. It has an active community committed to increasing awareness of environmental issues, spearheaded by the Student Environment Group – which has over 40 students from all year levels, as well as the MGC Sustainability Collective – which is made up of students, parents, local business and the wider community. In 2015, the school won the international Zayed Future Energy Prize. It collaborated with Yarra City Council and used their winnings to install a further 33KW of solar photo-voltaic panels at the school and to create a micro-hydro, rowing and wind generator to complement the existing pedal generators. As part of the curriculum, the school works on energy consumption reduction, waste management, water efficiency and biodiversity protection. Melbourne Girls’ College aims to be carbon neutral by 2020. The school maintains four composting bins and has plans for expansion. They have built a strong relationship with the Wurundjeri council and have collaborated with them to plant a bush tucker garden and decorate the “Murnong Walk” with local Murnong daisies. In recent years, the school has also hosted the Women in Environmental Science Conference and an Australian Youth Climate Coalition student conference.
CLEAN BEACH/ WATERWAYS
GREATER SHEPPARTON CITY COUNCIL AND COMMUNITY GROUPS
VICTORIA PARK LAKE
This beautiful lake has been redeveloped and includes an extensive wetland stormwater treatment system, indigenous plantings, lawns, seating and is a refuge for many native animals and threatened species of birds, reptiles, turtles and fish. The Greater Shepparton City Council, Rowing Club, Sailing Club, Fishing Clubs, and various community groups have all contributed to the project. Within the lake complex there are extensive walking tracks, an aquamoves aquatic centre, shelters and an ‘all abilities playground’. Numerous outdoor activities take place – including moonlight cinemas and the ‘Emerge Festival’. In addition, recreational fishing, skateboarding, sailing, canoeing and triathlons occur in the lake’s surrounds.
FRIENDS OF TOOLERN CREEK
TEN YEARS OF LITTER REMOVAL, WEEDING, AND REPLANTING OF THE TOOLERN CREEK
Significant litter removal has occurred progressively over the last 15 years along a section of the Toolern Creek, and this has extended onto private land adjacent to the creek. Combined with weeding, replanting of indigenous vegetation, replacement of fences and installation of park furniture the areas are now a delight to walk through. Friends of Toolern Creek started in 2005 and involves volunteers, work for the dole participants, CFA, and people on community service programs.
COMMUNITY ACTION AND LEADERSHIP
YARRA CITY COUNCIL
ROADS TO PARKS PROGRAM
The program provides open space for residents in neighbourhoods with little or no nearby access to parks. The project was prompted by data and consultation results collected during the development of the Yarra Open Space Strategy, which showed a strong community need in some parts of Yarra to have more open space. The Roads to Parks Program is based on enhancing the sustainability of the growing Yarra population within the Yarra City council limited land area. Converting paved road space into local parks has delivered multiple benefits including social, environmental and economic benefits. Some benefits include a decrease in impervious road pavement and associated polluted stormwater and benefits to mental wellbeing which come from the presence of green space and places of retreat in the urban environment. Parks converted to date include the Peel Street Park, Oxford Street Park, both in Collingwood; and the Richmond Terrace Park and Church Street Park in Richmond.
GROWING VEGETABLES TOGETHER IN ROCKBANK
Six vegetable beds, a compost heap and worm farm have been constructed at Sundowner Caravan Park in Rockbank, Melton forming a community garden which is supported by the Melton City Council and Bunnings. The project has been successful in supporting the residents of the Caravan Park to improve social connections and have a meaningful healthy occupation. It supplies the groups with a good source of vegetables, and has increased their knowledge of vegetable growing. The project also aims to inspire others to engage in similar pursuits.
COMMUNITY GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIPS
MEMBERS AND VOLUNTEERS OF RIVERCONNECT
RiverConnect has reconnected the Shepparton/Mooroopna community to the Goulburn river. The project includes education, access to the river, cultural heritage and infrastructure. RiverConnect is a multi-agency and community partnership that has been running for 10 years. The project has coordinated and enabled the development of the Mooroopna Flats walk and interpretive signage, flood markers along the Goulburn River, and a Master plan for the extension of the shared paths between Mooroopna and Shepparton. It has further involved ducational videos on the cultural, social and environmental values for the Goulburn and Broken Rivers, the creation of the Boulevard Bush Reserve and provides an extensive number of community education activities such as regular spotlight walks, native animal interaction and education sessions, art along the river and breakfast with the birds. This program has seen over 25,000 locals, students and visitors engage with the rivers and their floodplains in a positive way.
YARRA CITY COUNCIL
THE RESTORATION OF COLLINGWOOD TOWN HALL
Collingwood Town Hall has been a prominent landmark since 1887. Yarra City Council recognised that Collingwood Town Hall is a beloved local icon, a part of Yarra’s history, and an important community asset. Thus the council realised the need for major work to make it a functional, accessible, modern community venue and have now restored it to its former splendour. The restoration of the town hall took two years and included bringing the building up to current standards for disability access and effective working environments with improving the environmental performance of the building; and reinvigorating the building’s unique historical character.
CITY OF GREATER GEELONG COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND ARTS & CULTURE DEPARTMENTS
RECONCILIATION DIGITAL PROJECTIONS 2015
The City of Greater Geelong has worked with local Aboriginal organisations and community groups to create a dynamic large scale digital show reel that was projected on to the front façade of Geelong City Hall. The program included Aboriginal artists and their work, historic footage and contemporary images of community members celebrating their cultural identity. The project sought to educate and demonstrate the profound way in which local histories and identity can be shared and celebrated through art and create greater awareness of our indigenous heritage.
MELTON CITY COUNCIL, BRAND ARCHITECTURE AND 2 CONSTRUCT PTY LTD
BRIDGE ROAD CHILDREN’S AND COMMUNITY CENTRE-ECOFRIENDLY INSIDE AND OUT
The Bridge Road Centre opened in January 2015. There are 3 children’s areas, an occasional care area, maternal and child health services, and a community room. Melton City Council, together with the design team, led by Brand Architecture, incorporated many children friendly and environmentally sustainable design features. Some of the features include a Nature Play area that provides a creative play space with an emphasis on natural materials. The native vegetation within the play space and lack of plastic pre-made items is designed to encourage children into outdoor imaginative play. Recycled jarrah railway sleepers form part of the perimeter fencing, and old telegraph poles were used for some seating logs within the play space. Vegetable planter boxes encourage staff and children to experience growing edible plants. The building is designed to not require heating or cooling in public spaces. Natural ventilation reduces the reliance on non-renewable energy, allowing windows and louvers to be opened to heat or cool the building. A 40,000 litre rainwater tank is used to flush toilets. The gardens are irrigated with Class A recycled water. Composting, use of recycled furniture, a 10KW solar PV system, waste separation in student rooms and use of recycled paper compliment the environmental features.
CITY OF GREATER GEELONG
PARTNERSHIPS TO PROTECT THE HOODIE
The Hooded Plover Program is a partnership including City of Greater Geelong, BirdLife Australia, the Coastal Managers, Friends of the Hooded Plover Groups, Community Groups and Government Agencies. The program is driving local collaboration and integrated management of Hooded Plovers through a wide range of protection works and engagement with the local communities through local media and community events. These outcomes have meant that in the region a survival average of 0.44 fledglings per pair has been achieved. BirdLife Australia’s target is 0.4 – 0.5 fledglings per pair. The number of breeding pairs has doubled from 9 to 18 pairs in just under 10 years.
WORLD MISSION SOCIETY CHURCH OF GOD
WORLDWIDE ENVIRONMENTAL CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGN
Coordinated Clean-up Campaigns were held in October, November and December at different sites across Melbourne in 2015. The results of the clean-ups were impressive. There were 88-150 participants recorded at the different sites and 232-310kg of garbage collected on the different days. The group’s ability to capture the community’s civic mindedness for the benefit of the environment is impressive. The Volunteers came from all over Melbourne.
CITY OF GREATER GEELONG
GRASSLAND AND GRASSY WOODLANDS – HIDDEN TREASURES OF GEELONG
The grassland and grassy woodlands of the Geelong region are some of the rarest in Australia. They are not often protected in large reserves, so their conservation is dependant on private land owners efforts. Over the last four years the City of Greater Geelong, partnering with its community, have been implementing a program to identify, protect and better manage these important environments. On private land, with funding support from the Port Phillip Western Port Catchment Management Authority, and working together with adjoining municipalities, Geelong farmers and small block owners, have protected and enhanced 375ha of grassland and grassy woodlands. Geelong has mapped and now better manages remnants on small reserves, roadsides and unused roads. Working together has allowed these treasures to be recognised and valued.
RESOURCE RECOVERY AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
FRIENDS OF THE MELTON BOTANIC GARDEN AND MELTON CITY COUNCIL
USING RECYCLED GREEN WASTE TO GROW SOUTHERN AFRICAN PLANTS AT THE MELTON BOTANIC GARDEN
The Melton Botanic Garden has received significant local, state and national attention since its inception in 2003, and trialling the new compost product has been a highlight. The project included constructing 5 trial garden beds growing Southern African plants using compost produced from roadside green bins. The trial beds consist of compost mixed with soil in ratios of 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent40 percent and 50 percent. The same Southern African plants are planted in each bed and are monitored to observe their growth performance.
The project is an important aspect of a resource-awareness campaign and has also been made available to early learning centres for their active learning garden beds. The health of the plants has been monitored across the beds by visual assessments and soil pH readings. The lower rates of application of recycled compost have been found to be most successful with the 10 percent and 20 percent product providing the best pH for growth of species. The key community education message is the importance of only including acceptable organic materials in kerbside green bins.
Gio Fitzpatrick is a 19-year-old urban ecologist and conservationist whose wonderful volunteer work by age 15 attracted endorsement by Sir David Attenborough. Gio has developed a reputation for knowledge and maturity far beyond his years, working and volunteering with organisations such as Museum Victoria, the Port Phillip EcoCentre, Friends of Elster Creek, St Kilda Indigenous Nursery Cooperative and many local schools and community groups on a number of environmental causes and practical projects. His photography and knowledge is respected in online forums such as BowerBird and Birding Aus. Since a young child, Gio has spent time enjoying, studying and researching nature and taking practical action to protect it. As a result, his knowledge of local native plants and animals is equal to that of many people working in the wildlife conservation field.
At age 11, Gio began to volunteer with the Port Phillip EcoCentre. He realised that loss of breeding habitat was central to the survival of many wildlife species, so he researched, designed, and installed over 30 nest boxes which he continues to monitor and maintain for vulnerable species. In 2011 he was awarded the City of Port Phillip Young Person’s Award and co-founded the re-launch of Friends of Elster Creek. The EcoCentre has employed him since 2013 as a Youth Wildlife Ambassador running workshops, walks and biodiversity surveys. He took the first ever photograph of a marine spider which had only previously been recorded once in 1902, in Victoria. Gio also recorded first sightings of three species (a swampfly, a hoverfly, native bee) in Victoria. Finally, Gio demonstrated in 2016 that it is possible to spot more wildlife species in the suburbs in a single day than in a day atthe Melbourne Zoo.
KEEP VICTORIA BEAUTIFUL GIFT FUND PRIZE 2016
ST LOUIS DE MONTFORT’S PRIMARY SCHOOL
St Louis de Montfort’s Primary School encourages sustainability and builds community capacity through education. The Gift Fund Prize will be spent on funding for Sean MaCarthy of Snakehandlers.com to provide hands on education sessions to educate students on animal and environmental needs in the School’s new reptile precinct.