THE Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre has been named the overall gold winner in the City of Cockburn’s second annual A Better Tomorrow Sustainability Awards.
Located in the heart of Beeliar Regional Park on the north-eastern edge of Bibra Lake, the centre is a community-managed facility that has developed a broad range of educational environmental programs since its inception in 1993.
“The centre has established seed production areas for future sustainable supplies and a landcare demonstration trail to showcase best management practices while propagating 5000 plants each year for revegetating wetlands,” Cockburn Mayor Logan K Howlett said. “It also pioneered techniques for rehabilitating degraded wetlands.
“A volunteer program provides invaluable training and work experience opportunities for future wetland carers and managers. At the heart of the centre’s success is its integrated and holistic approach.”
This year, the awards were revised into four categories – Community, Small Business, Large Business and Household. Each category had two winners, scoring $1000 each.
From the category winners, the Gold Sustainability Award was selected, winning the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre $6000.
Winners in each category were:
• Household: Adam Peck and Amy Warne, of Hamilton Hill, and Maureen Manko, of Success.
• Community: Cockburn Wetland Education Centre, Kerry Street School, Coolbellup Community School.
• Small Business: Backyard Aquaponics, Lisa Green (Cockburn Family Day Care).
• Large Business: Amcor Fibre Packaging, LandCorp.
“The City of Cockburn created one of the first local government awards programs to recognise sustainable living in the community, in a bid to enact change through education,” Mayor Howlett said.
“This awards program is our way of thanking and celebrating Cockburn’s sustainable champions who, in turn, help to spread the word about sustainability.
“We had a great range of nominations from local schools, businesses, community groups and households, all highlighting their commitment to sustainability over the past year.”
Profiles on each category winner follow.
Cockburn Mayor Logan K Howlett with Denise Crosbie, Rex Sallur and Janene Watts (*correct spelling) from the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre, the 2009 Gold Sustainability Award winner, and Andrew Byars from Perron Group & Cockburn Gateway Shopping City, award sponsors.
CATEGORY WINNERS – PROFILES
Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre (Gold Winner) –
* See main release for information
Adam Peck and Amy Warne (Households)
Since buying their Hamilton Hill home in 2001, Adam Peck and Amy Warne have been working to make their house more sustainable by adding solar panels, a 14,000-litre rainwater tank and retrofitting it with various energy-saving features.
They have removed existing lawn and exotic trees, replacing them with local waterwise plants, and have planted an organic fruit and vegetable garden with drip irrigation, along with establishing a successful composting system.
By making simple lifestyle changes, they have also reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by keeping a weekly log of their water, power and gas use and finding ways to further reduce consumption.
Maureen Manko (Households)
Understanding the need to help the environment, Maureen Manko is playing an active role by growing vegetables (without pesticides) at her Success home, reducing the need for fuel to visit shops while also saving on household costs.
Egg shells and vegetable scraps are recycled back into the garden soil and native plants are employed outside the vegetable garden area.
She uses energy-saving light bulbs while also making a conscious effort to turn off lights and appliances not in use around the house, recycles Christmas and birthday cards, uses natural products such as bicarbonate of soda and vinegar for cleaning and has a paper shredder to give waste paper to a nearby pet shop.
Coolbellup Community School (Community)
The middle primary years at Coolbellup Community School have established a working garden, teaching them about sustainability and environmental protection, and are responsible for its continual upkeep.
Established in the second half of 2008, the garden now includes a traditional vegetable garden, worm farm, composting program, recycling program (including lunch, canteen and garden waste), a frog grotto, fruit trees, a temporary restaurant, a healthy eating and cooking program and the start of a bush tucker garden.
As each new group of students move through the program, they maintain the features already established and contribute their own ideas and initiatives to expand it further.
Kerry Street Community School (Community)
With values committed to sustainability, Kerry Street Community School has embarked on all re-building and renewal programs by seeking to re-use existing materials, recycled materials and innovative, sustainable and low-impact environmental products.
The school has replaced its lighting system with high, functioning skylights in conjunction with LED lighting that reduces waste, waste handling and maintenance by up to 3000 per cent – and they also contain no lead or mercury.
Grid-connected solar panels are being installed on the school’s roof, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a kitchen garden has been established using compost, recycled materials and rainwater, helping to give students real-life sustainability skills.
Backyard Aquaponics (Small and Medium Business)
Established in 2007, Backyard Aquaponics uses a philosophy of a closed system and sustainable food production while minimising the input of water, power and nutrients.
The style of food production (vegetables, herbs and protein sourced from fish) uses 90 per cent less water than crops grown in soil – the food plants clean the water by absorbing nutrients produced by growing fish and clean, aerated water is then re-circulated back to the fish.
Educating the community through a website and ezines, the Backyard Aquaponics range now includes books, DVDs and a regular magazine and has expanded to include three food-growing system solutions.
Lisa Green – Cockburn Family Day Care (Small and Medium Business)
Lisa Green operates a family day care business from her home, catering for 10 families and 14 children, educating them about sustainable living.
Children are involved in planting and harvesting vegetables, looking after chickens and collecting eggs, caring for a worm farm and learning how to make compost while being made aware of water-saving techniques and reducing electricity consumption.
Ms Green has installed solar panels, planted numerous fruit trees and native local species and only uses green products on her premises, eliminating the need for toxic chemicals.
Through her efforts, the families of children in day care have been inspired to grow their own vegetables and increase their recycling efforts.
Amcor Fibre Packaging (Large business)
Amcor Fibre Packaging in Bibra Lake has an active environmental management action plan, delivering several positive initiatives.
These include setting targets and regular audits of reductions in water, electricity and waste, staff engagement on environmental matters and continuing investigations into technology that encourages water re-use and reclamation.
Most of the timber used for packaging is sourced from sustainably-managed plantations while onsite recycling includes collecting waste packaging created in the manufacturing process and re-using it to reduce the environmental impact.
Amcor also has an active role in the National Packaging Covenant, designed to reduce the environmental effects of packaging, and is committed to the responsible sourcing of virgin fibre.
LandCorp (Large Business)
More than 50 per cent of LandCorp’s Cockburn Central development will be retained as bushland, enhanced wetlands and public open space for recreation while degraded areas will be restored with native plants. Free-standing water, reed and vegetation areas will also be retained and extended.
Ecologically-sustainable design principles are being applied to the landscaping and seed and plant collection has already been undertaken for future revegetation of the wetland area.
Maximising “at-source” infiltration from stormwater drainage is a key priority, promoting aquifer recharge with clean rainwater. During larger storms where this is not possible, stormwater will be directed to a drainage and treatment system.
City of Cockburn
The City of Cockburn celebrates its 30th birthday in 2009, regarded as one of Perth’s fastest growing and culturally-diverse local governments.
With a population of about 80,000, it has grown into one of Perth’s most dynamic and successful areas. The population is made up of a large percentage of children, families and seniors, and a large percentage of people born overseas (28.8%).
As a developing city, Cockburn has a good mix of residential, rural and conservation areas and has more than 2000 businesses. The City of Cockburn, as a council, has a continuing mission to make the area the most attractive place to live, work and visit in the metropolitan area.
P: (08) 9411 3551