Primary school ‘power rangers’ lead the way in sustainability

Kaleen 2617
(ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers) ABC Radio Canberra


Penny Travers


March 23, 2017 11:06:48

Year three student Toni Kuss demonstrates how to use the recycling stations that are in each classroom.
Each lunch break at Maribyrnong Primary School in Canberra, students donning capes and masks give up their play time to help save the environment.These “power rangers” investigate each classroom to see if any lights, monitors or electronic whiteboards have been left on. “Again, incredible improvements; I go around now and I’m lucky to find any cling wrap in a class.”

Year four students Kaleb Baldry and Riley Gray check out the school’s compost bin. “It’s been incredibly successful,” specialist science teacher Leslie Carr said. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
The school has more than 430 students and all of them, from preschool to year six, are involved in the sustainability initiatives.”It’s everyone’s business, and more than just the school, it’s the community as well; it’s bringing people along and getting everyone involved,” Ms Howard said.”Science affects every part of our lifestyle [and] in relation to the environment, it’s absolutely crucial that we work on sustainability practices with our students so they do long-term look after our planet and are able to nurture future generations to do so.” (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
Saving on power billsRainwater is collected and used for flushing toilets and the school also has solar panels.And all the energy-saving measures are paying dividends.”Simple things like replacing the lighting with LED lighting long-term has quite an impact on our energy consumption and in turn then allows us to allocate funding to other things other than bills like learning programs,” principal Jennifer Howard said. “It really gives the kids ownership of our energy consumption at the school.”It’s making them aware that every little action that we do has an effect on our environment, and it’s their environment, they’re growing up in it, and they’ve got to teach the grown-ups how to look after it too.”Waste-free WednesdaysAs well as leading the way in power-saving measures, the school also has a worm farm, compost bin, vegetable garden, bee hotel, bird boxes and recycling bin stations.”We have a waste-free Wednesday program where we say no waste from your lunches, so no cling wrap, try not to have any chip packets, that sort of stuff,” Ms Carr said. “We go around and if their lights and computer monitors are on we give them a sticker that’s called an energy mite, and we give them rainbows if the lights and monitors are off,” year four student Aiden Barinton said.”At the end of each month, the class with the most rainbows gets an award.”

Year three students Lucy Thorpe and Willow Florian dressed as “power rangers” as they turn off monitors and lights. (ABC Radio Canberra: Penny Travers)
The program is one of the many initiatives the school started to achieve its five-star energy accreditation from Actsmart Schools. Photo:
The school’s “power rangers” give up some of their play time to check lights and monitors are switched off.

Burnie man’s cloud dreams come true

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(Supplied: Gary McArthur) ABC Radio Hobart


Carol Rääbus


March 23, 2017 12:21:26

Gary McArthur has a passion for all things skyward.
The world's newest cloud is from Burnie

(Your Afternoon)
Did you know meteorologists still hand draw weather maps?
(Supplied: Gary McArthur) The other entrants were just as good as far as I’m concerned.”I think they picked mine because it had no enhancement. Some of the other photos had a bit too much enhancement and looked a bit too unreal.”

Gary McArthur photographs transient clouds from a plane. Mr McArthur said he was “chuffed” to have his photograph picked as the best example of the asperitas cloud.”I was just lucky.

(Supplied: Gary McArthur)
For the cloud now known as asperitas, the editor’s pick was one taken by Mr McArthur at Burnie in northern Tasmania.”I was on my way to work and I thought, ‘well that’s most unusual’,” he told Helen Shield on ABC Radio Hobart.”Luckily I had my really good camera with me at the time and took heaps of photos; I remember on the day people were just stopped on the street, it was so fantastic.”
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Clouds in the sky over Burnie filmed by Gary McArthur
Mr McArthur said he was fascinated with the weather growing up and had always wanted to become a meteorologist but never had the opportunity.Instead he turned his gaze downward and became a geologist, working in and around the mining industry.But his interest in clouds and the weather continued alongside his geology career.”Living in Tasmania, we’ve always got clouds. Photo:
Gary McArthur’s photo of asperitas cloud over Burnie has been chosen as the best example of the cloud. It’s a cloud spotter’s delight.”I lived in western Queensland for many years … Gary McArthur’s head has always been in the clouds.Now his passion for all things skyward has been recognised by the World Meteorological Organisation.To mark World Meteorological Day, a new edition of the International Cloud Atlas has been launched; it is the definitive guide to clouds used by meteorologists and cloud enthusiasts around the globe.This edition has 11 newly classified clouds in it, each with a photo deemed to be the best example of that type of cloud to help people identify them. it was just deadly boring up there; six months and you didn’t see a cloud.”There’s nothing worse than a boring, cloudless sky.”
Burnie 7320

Victory for Cloud Appreciation Society as asperitas formally classified

New centre provides day care for sick children in Canberra

Canberra 2600
ABC Radio Canberra


Louise Maher


March 23, 2017 15:05:15

Mia with her mum Liz Walker (right) and educator Dannie Condon. (ABC Radio Canberra: Louise Maher)
(ABC Radio Canberra: Louise Maher)
Ms Clever said the centre would give parents like her “a couple of hours to themselves to do things that they cannot do”.”It’s really hard to have a shower when you’ve got a sick baby that you can’t leave alone,” she said.Kimberly Lane’s one-year-old son Jack was born with a serious heart defect and spent the first seven months of his life in a hospital, mainly in intensive care.Ms Lane said she wanted him to have the same opportunities his big brother enjoyed through mainstream child care.”Jack … just wants to jump down and play with all the kids and I hate that he can’t do that,” she said. Mia is 18 months old and likes eating cake and playing with toys.But serious illness has prevented her from mixing with other children in a mainstream childcare centre.”Every time we’ve approached one we’ve been told they can’t accommodate her or they just flat out don’t reply,” her mum, Liz Walker, said.”So this place is awesome.”The Stella Bella Children’s Centre is the first in Canberra to provide places for seriously ill children aged five and under.It was the long-term dream of Suzanne Tunks, who started the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation in memory of her baby daughter Stella who died in 2010 from a rare heart condition. turning this into a real community centre.”Flexibility for familiesMs Tunks said there would also be flexibility for families and financial help if required.”All of the kids in the special care unit will be here in a means-tested capacity.”So if they can’t afford to be paying the gap, we will be paying that for them.”I think we’re going to have a lot of part-time and occasional care in the special care unit because these babies spend a lot of time in and out of hospital.”Much-needed time out for parentsCasey Clever’s 10-month-old daughter Arcadia suffers from a genetic disorder and has to be fed through a tube. Photo:
Casey Clever (left) with her daughter Arcadia and paediatric nurse Gemma Sweaney. Photo:
Suzanne Tunks and the galah mural that decorates the centre’s special unit for sick children. (ABC Radio Canberra: Louise Maher)
The new centre, made possible through corporate fundraising and volunteer support, is housed in a former daycare building in Fyshwick.One section will accommodate up to 30 children in mainstream care.Their fees will help fund up to 15 children in the Galahs unit, named after baby Stella’s totem animal.”We don’t want the children to feel like they’re in a special care unit,” Ms Tunks said.”When they’re here they’re just everyday children and we just subtly have all these other special things in place to take extra good care of them.”We’ll all be involved in the gardening and the chickens and the playground equipment … Photo:
The centre’s fairy garden was created by Suzanne Tunks’ family. (ABC Radio Canberra: Louise Maher)
Ms Tunks’ foundation already runs the Little Stars Beads program which rewards the courage of sick children with a lasting memento of their medical journey.But the centre is her biggest achievement to date.”I’m not just someone thinking I know what works well with these families — I lived it.”I love the idea of coming to work every day here, doing the work of our foundation, supporting all of these families outside as well.”Doing that in an environment full of beautiful little children being happy and enjoying all the things we’ve put in place for them, it’s like a dream come true for me.”