Sustainable Cities 2019 Community Awards Finalists

Active Schools Award

Truganina South Primary School
Greening our School and Greening the Pipeline

Truganina South Primary School have embedded sustainability into students daily learning experience, encouraging stewardship and caring for the environment.

The students have participated in an exciting visioning process as part of the Greening the Pipeline initiative working with engineers and landscape designers to reimagine a disused parcel of land behind their school as a linear parkland.

Formerly an old sewer pipeline reserve, the MOS reserve is now being transformed through active community involvement. Students participated in Habitat walks, learning about local flora and fauna including the frogs who live in nearby Skeleton Creek and worked with local artists to paint murals on the factory walls of the MOS Reserve depicting the endangered Growling Grass Frogs. This school is a sustainability champion, planting over 500 trees in the last two seasons participating in Clean-up Australia Day, vegetable gardening, recycling, composting, water and energy saving initiatives. Greening the School, Greening the Pipeline.


St Columba’s Primary School
Operation STEAM Clean the Bay

Operation STEAM Clean the Bay (Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts, Maths) aims to transform our landscape, curriculum and leadership projects, making people think about and connect the health of the Bay to everyday decisions.

St Columba’s Primary School – a ResourceSmart School committed to advancing community-wide sustainability leadership – is located in the seaside suburb of Elwood and created the project to improve the environmental health of Port Phillip Bay. Activities include redesigning front-facing landscape to reduce Bay’s health threats; learning/sharing Indigenous historical and scientific knowledge of the Bayside ecosystems with the Boon Wurrung Foundation; Port Phillip EcoCentre, and guest career speakers from Bay related fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math conducting community engagement activities including signage, community clean-up days; and Climate Change Choir, all of which increase awareness of the Bay’s environmental health and value.


Minnie Vinnies
Recycling Paper

St. Jude’s Primary School Langwarrin is a 5 Star Sustainable School.

In keeping with lowering costs associated with waste and the school vision of Mercy, Peace and Love, a group of senior students, named Mini Vinnies in coordination with St. Vincent de Paul Society collect shredded paper, cardboard and paper scraps that can be recycled on a weekly basis throughout the school.

St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) collect the paper and transport it to Australian Paper Recovery in Dandenong where it is then transferred to Malaysia, Vietnam, India and Indonesia. It is then pulped and made into recycled paper products. For every tonne of paper that is collected, $100 is returned to St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The money helps to fund and support the various projects for the needy in our community. Parents and the wider parish community are encouraged to support this programme by contributing any paper products.


St Macartans Parish Primary School
St Macartans: Making a difference

Saint Macartan’s Parish Primary School is a lighthouse for Sustainable Living.

Building design, indigenous landscaping and the Sustainability Centre are all vehicles for the development of behaviours which exemplify stewardship of the environment. The students are engaged and lead the community in developing awareness and the need for behavioural change to reduce the impact that we have on our environment through Leadership Teams.

The Sustainability Teams monitor waste, energy, water and biodiversity at the school whilst the social and well-being student teams ensure that the individual’s needs are also addressed.

The school is “a tidy town” where a holistic approach nurtures the development of a community that is aware of the world around it and takes ownership of the stewardship required to ensure the protection of the environment.


Deer Park North Primary School
Our road to sustainability

Brimbank City Council supported and sponsored Deer Park North Primary School to become a Stephanie Alexander classroom school in 2018. Through the program, the school had an opportunity to apply for and successfully win one of the Playground to Plate grants.

The grant provided $5,000. With the grant money, the school updated the garden shed with shelving and new tools, as well as updated equipment in the kitchen.

Brimbank City Council has been supporting the school in their journey to sustainability and recently helped purchase a commercial-scale worm farm for the school. Composting has been a challenge in the past, but since acquiring the worm farm, the school community has worked together to increase their sustainable practises and become urban farming champions. They now grow from seedling to plate, and the worms turn food scraps into fertility input – demonstrating a circular economy.

Litter Prevention Award

Sunshine Business Association and The Friends of Kororoit Creek
Straws Suck in Sunshine

The “Straws Suck in Sunshine” campaign, launched in June 2018 by the Sunshine Business Association and the Friends of Kororoit Creek, embarked on a campaign to educate over 80 cafes and restaurants to phase out single use plastic straws and replace them with paper straws.

The aim of the campaign was to change the way businesses operate and to reduce the impact of litter on the environment. The campaign was supported by Brimbank City Council and is evolving.

As of January 2019, it has begun educating businesses, customers and visitors to reject single use plastic in favour of environmentally friendly straws; then cups, bags and take-away containers. The campaign has been visible on the streets of Sunshine since 2018 in the form of anti-litter bin wraps placed on over 100 rubbish bins.


Karin Traeger
the plastic runner

“the plastic runner” is a social enterprise looking to bring environmental awareness, education and an active lifestyle together through the facilitation of plogging events.

Mixing running and litter collection has been a fun way to show the impacts of plastic pollution in our natural spaces, raising awareness in local communities while working together as a team.

Through the last year, “the plastic runner” has facilitated more than 20 events in different parts of Victoria, partnering with initiatives such as CleanUp Australia, Warburton Trail Fest, National Sustainable Living Festival.

Through the use of diverse social channels and event participation, an influence of individuals into a more sustainable living has been achieved, showing how an easy action can create impact in our surroundings. Apart from all this, inclusiveness has been the rule always


Footscray Rubbish Runners
Footscray Rubbish Runners

The Footscray Rubbish Runners are a community group who meet on the first Sunday of every month to clean up roadside rubbish in the suburb of Footscray and in surrounding neighbourhood areas in Melbourne.

The group was started by a local runner who picked up rubbish on daily runs.

The group is inclusive of all ages and abilities, and now has both a runners’ and a walkers’ group.

Since starting on Clean Up Australia Day in 2018, the group has picked up over 8,000 litres of rubbish (more than 30 wheelie bins full) from off of the streets of Footscray.


Friends of Bayside Roads
Friends of Bayside Roads Litter Patrol

Friends of Bayside Roads are a volunteer organisation who regularly patrol and remove litter from the City of Bayside Council roadside reserves (nature strips), around parks and gardens, golf courses, sporting venues, carparks, and bushland reserves.

Each volunteer covers a total of about two kilometres on each side of the road two or three times a month, totalling around 45 kilometres of area from Charman Road, Beaumaris to Elsternwick Park that is being kept free of litter.

Since the launch of Friends of Bayside Roads in early 2017, the patrol group is now 33 members strong and has prevented 1,749 bags of rubbish from entering Bayside’s precious marine environments and natural reserves.

Members have also notified Council of around 250 major illegal rubbish dumps.


Bellarine Catchment Network
Caring For Our Bays

Caring For Our Bays is an innovative program that aims to lift the profile and appreciation of Corio Bay and the Bellarine shoreline of Port Phillip Bay by raising awareness of litter and its impacts.

The program aims to educate and encourage the community to look after their local area and improve the health of both the bay and the foreshore. The bay region is facing a litter crisis. Litter remains in the water and is not generally cleaned up due to the difficulty of collection.

Litter is an issue that is evident to all stakeholders and this project has facilitated an integrated and coordinated approach to the issue. Many projects are run underneath the ‘Caring For Our Bays’ banner including a citizen science program, the ‘Be a Hero’ campaign that celebrates local indigenous species, presence and action at local events and festivals and education.


Beach Patrol Australia
Cleaner Port Phillip Beaches

Beach Patrol Australia (BPA) provides the means to channel the energy and enthusiasm of local communities to remove litter from their beach and prevent this litter from entering and harming the marine environment.

To date, BPA has kick- started thirty beach cleaning groups covering most of Port Phillip coastline. Each group typically cleans their beach on a monthly basis and submits the data on what they collect to BPA’s litter database.

Environmental Sustainability Award

Expanding Community Composting in Melbourne

Working with councils, community gardens and neighbourhood houses, 3000acres is aiming to increase large-scale composting opportunities right around Melbourne.

Through partnerships with groups well placed to accept food waste from local households, 3000acres have increased the capacity of composting facilities in 20 community gardens. As the number of

people living in apartments and short-term rentals grows, there is a greater need for shared composting facilities in public spaces.

Through bolstering these communal systems with more composting bays, demonstration models such as worm farms and workshops for the community, 3000acres are reducing food waste and producing nutrient-rich compost for use in the garden.

These closed loop systems can process substantial amounts of waste and draw in local residents to consider sustainability in their lives more broadly.


Frankston Beach Association Inc.
Frankston City – Foreshore Revegetation

Frankston Beach Association volunteers come from the general community and local education institutes and they form Working Bees. Members participate in restoration and preservation of the City of Frankston’s 5-kilometre remnant strip of coastal flora.

The Primary objectives are to rehabilitate 5,000 square metres of degraded coastline between Palm Court and Beach Street, Frankston; consolidate natural heritage aspects of this remnant of pre-European coastal flora; reduce effects of wave erosion and improve dune system stability by planting additional native primary dune stabilisers.

Volunteer teams have removed tonnes of weeds and litter in readiness for new plantings. In 2018, over 2500 tubes were planted to complement established remnant indigenous shrubs and trees.

Protection of the Environment Award


Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group
New Life for Dead Trees

Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group requested that Sheoke trees removed to make way for the Ballarat Rail Upgrade be recycled for environmental purposes and placed in a local woodland.

Pinkerton Landcare and Environment Group in partnership with Western Water are recreating a Greybox Woodland on a twelve-hectare paddock (once used for the disposal of biosolids). This will link two Greybox Woodland remnants.

An unfortunate instance of environmental loss and habitat destruction was recognised as an opportunity to be seized and turned into a biodiversity win, and was an exercise whereby with PLEG, Western Water, Rail Projects Victoria could be seen working in concert to achieve an environmentally good result.


Port Phillip EcoCentre and City of Port Phillip
Alive Outside!

‘Alive Outside’ enables 12 to 25-year olds to explore and investigate local environments in extraordinary ways – as protectors of penguins, investigators of minibeasts, architects of bat nest boxes and as practicing paleontologists.

Young people get up close to wildlife and take positive action. They walk, cycle and snorkel the beaches, foreshore, reefs and reserves within the City of Port Phillip, guided by EcoCentre educators. Sessions blend eco-informative exploration, gathering specimens, identifying and recording species, litter removal and habitat creation.

This year, 308 Alive Outside participants at 43 events have developed a sense of connection to place, made and strengthened friendships, participated in 476 volunteer hours, shared knowledge, and tackled problem-solving with a focus on nature – through first-time experiences from snorkelling to a 24 hour bioblitz, all hidden opportunities for connection and protection of the astonishing array of wildlife in suburbs.


Werribee River Association
Improving the health of the Werribee River

The Werribee River Association (WRivA) has been working to protect the natural environment since the 1981.

They are one of the original and longstanding environmental organisations from Melbourne’s west. While the work of WRivA now extends to a range environmental issues, the Werribee River remains a centrepiece, with the implementation of an integrated river health program.

Activities include a significant riparian revegetation program, platypus monitoring and water quality monitoring. All of this work is implemented by the mobilisation of community and corporate volunteers, and undertaken in collaboration with key local and state government agencies.


Natured Kids’ Narelle Debenham
Outdoor environmental activities, educating and empowering young people

Narelle Debenham’s ‘Natured Kids’ carries out great environmental work in the community, particularly with her ‘Natured Kids’ Junior Landcare group.

Narelle has worked with local young people for three decades, teaching them about ‘habitat for wildlife’ and the importance of connecting with, contributing to and caring for the natural environment.

Narelle is very community minded, she values the work Frankston Council and the local

‘friends-of’ groups do in nature and uses her creativity as a passionate educator to unite her young people with projects in nature. Narelle aims for these intergenerational encounters to impact the children she works with, to enable initially at the very least, for them to choose to live their lives in sustainable ways and at best, eventually choose a vocation that protects and promotes our natural world.


Raising Rarity Team
Raising Rarity Project

The Raising Rarity project focuses on assessing the horticultural potential of rare species, to establish suitability for eventual introduction into cultivated systems, such as home gardens.

The assessment program is elaborate, requiring germinating wild seeds, and monitoring growth and changes across all stages of maturation and repeating this process for multiple generations. If a species is successfully “tamed”, it may end up being available for the public to purchase through plant sales organised by the Cranbourne Friends, who will get involved with the project by growing the successfully cultivated species in order to sell them.

 Clean Beach/ Waterway Award

World Mission Society Church of God
Worldwide Environmental Cleanup Campaign

The World Mission Society Church of God has been holding environmental clean-up campaigns, since 2010. 80-120 volunteers attend each clean-up through the year, to reduce litter. They have cleaned around waterways along Merri Creek, Coburg Lake, Yarra River, and Port Phillip Bay beaches.

These clean-ups are part of a worldwide initiative with 8000 churches, in 175 countries, and over 3 million volunteers.

In Melbourne, the Church contributed to a removal of 1163 bags of litter, weighing 6774kg. Also, dedicated volunteers contributed a total of 4620 hours towards clean beaches and waterways.


Kananook Creek Association
Green Army Kananook Creek Restoration

The Kananook Creek Association in conjunction with the Green Army Federal Government initiative and Frankston City Council undertook a 20-week project to intensively weed, clean and restore walking tracks along the 7-kilometre length of the creek.

The result of this exercise was many fold: removal of invasive weeds, dead non habitat timber, improved track access and safety for users and a valuable hands on learning opportunity in environmental management for Green Army participants.

The last benefit should not be underestimated and is arguably the most important. There has been increased track usage, an ability to plant more indigenous vegetation along the walking track and a revitalised focus on the creek reserve after some years of under management.


Port Phillip EcoCentre
Clean Bay Blueprint

With already over 5,000 volunteer hours from 554 volunteers, 27 project partners and the first ever quantification of microplastics in Melbourne’s rivers, Clean Bay Blueprint is spearheading the process of solving Victoria’s litter problem.

Clean Bay Blueprint is Australia’s first research project that monitors and maps microplastic pollution across Melbourne’s big rivers and coast, to inform policy makers and the wider community and to advocate for change. With the help of the Port Phillip EcoCentre’s extensive networks, collaborative problem-solving approach and dedicated volunteer base, the project is already helping to significantly change the landscape of how we view and handle litter, including the prevention of plastic pollution in Melbourne’s most beloved waterways. Project results so far have already been extensively referenced in the media, shaped election promises, and been used by government including for the inaugural State of the Yarra and Its Parklands report.


Yarra Riverkeeper Association
Yarra River Blitz

The Yarra River is the largest contributor of litter into Port Phillip Bay. Much of the litter entering the Bay is trapped in reed beds in the lower Yarra. These areas are extremely difficult to access. The small size of litter in these areas make litter collection time consuming and expensive.

This project was designed to remove accumulated waste from reed beds in the lower Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers using a unique approach which incorporates a boat mounted vacuum system with traditional waterway cleaning techniques.

This project has greatly reduced the amount of litter and microplastics residing in the Yarra and Maribyrnong and has prevented millions of microplastics from escaping into the Bay.

The Association have completed three Blitzes in the Yarra and Maribyrnong, have removed close to 20 tonnes of rubbish and have engaged Councils, industry and community to improve our wonderful waterways.

Community Action & Leadership Award

Hampton Community Centre
Sustainable Hub

The project is a humble vegetable garden out the front of the community centre that has had amazing and bountiful produce during the summer that led to lots of community conversation:  inter-generational, and cross cultural.

The Community Centre is looking to grow the space and the engagement with community during this next year with the aim to have a community meal.


Sanda Aye and Neil Segroi
The Maribyrnong River Rubbish Club

The Maribyrnong River Rubbish Club is a group of like-minded people who love the environment and want to make a difference.

The group gets together once a month to collect rubbish from along the banks of the Maribyrnong River, with a focus on the Footscray, Kensington & Maribyrnong areas.

The Meetups are a wonderful opportunity to meet people with the same purpose, enjoy some great conversation, get some fresh air and light exercise. All this while contributing to an amazing cause.


St Macartans Parish Primary School/
St Macartans: Making a Difference

On Sunday 28 October 2018, St Macartan’s Primary School hosted its second Community Market Day, within school grounds alongside their Sustainability Centre.

It showcased the school’s own produce and sustainable practices, as well as the locally grown and made products in the Mornington Peninsula.

The school encouraged their students and families as well as local businesses to book a stall, believing that to be true community leaders, we should do so through example.

Approximately 3000 visitors visited the 95 stalls, with major sponsors contributing to raffle and signage. Solo Resource Recovery donated bin sleeves to enable correct waste management. The local St Vinnies benefited from the gold coin donation entry fee.


3000acres and Open Gardens Victoria
Open Productive Gardens of Melbourne

3000acres, Open Gardens Victoria and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation partnered to deliver the ‘Open Productive Gardens of Melbourne’ program.

3000acres opened up the gates to the best examples of backyard food growing throughout Melbourne and hosted guided tours and workshops in these backyards with the aim of educating and inspiring attendees to expand growing in their own homes.

The selected backyards demonstrated diverse food growing in a variety of conditions, including small spaces and rental properties.

The response to seeing food growing in a home environment was staggering: 90 per cent of attendees reported they had, or planned to implement things they had learned on their tour in their own garden


Kensington Compost
Kensington Street Compost

The Kensington Compost first began in 2016 when a resident posted on a community Facebook page, asking where they could dispose of kitchen scraps to prevent them going to landfill.

Two years later, there are 15 different drop off locations in Kensington where residents can dispose of their kitchen scraps in an environmentally friendly way.

Each location has a series of compost bins and worm farms at various states of composition. Volunteers use signage which clearly states what can and can’t be composted and which bins are full and shouldn’t be used.

Once the waste has broken down it is given away free of charge to residents and other community groups. Volunteers monitor the bins each week to ensure they are working well. It is run exclusively by volunteers with no funding. All bins and worm farms have been donated by community members.

Young Leaders Award

Oscar Baldacchino
Save the critically endangered helmeted honeyeater

Oscar Baldacchino is only 8 years old.

He has an unusually deep understanding of environmental issues for one so very young. He attends ‘Natured Kids’ Junior Landcare group with other local children where they participate in projects to care for their nearby natural environment.

One of their recent tasks was to research and choose an individual personal ‘totem’, something they wish to protect for the rest of their lives and Oscar chose the critically endangered Helmeted honeyeater.


Phoebe Edwards
Youth and Environmental Action

Phoebe is determined to make a difference, no matter how small or challenging it may be, including bringing awareness of environmental issues to local youth, and improving youth health (by participating on the 2019 Melbourne Container Terminal Committee, and youth forums).

She has been involved in a number of programs, such as her schools’ ADVANCE and STEM programs, where she worked alongside Melbourne Water, Friends of the Brisbane Ranges and the Werribee River Association to improve the environment and protect wildlife.

Phoebe created a Mobile Phone Recycling Box for the Zoo’s Victoria “They’re Calling on You” campaign, on which she began mid-2018 during her work experience placement at Werribee Open Range Zoo.

She is a Melbourne Ocean Youth Ambassador for the Sea Life aquarium and is an active member of Beach Patrol 3030.

To view the Council Sustainable Cities Awards finalists, click here.