Lismore's inaugural TeachMeet a success

A dozen eager environmentalists gathered for TeachMeet in Lismore during May, an informal new style of professional development hosted by the IEU.

TeachMeets bring together teachers to share their ideas of best practice. This allows teachers to go away from this short form of two-hour professional development with ideas and resources to use and share in their own classrooms and schools.

The Lismore TeachMeet attracted both IEU members and non-members from across the Northern Rivers school community to share two to seven minute presentations about their activities in environmental sustainability.

The Byron Community College presented their toolkit of sustainability learning activities and resources that can be infused into a cross-curriculum of subject areas. St Francis Xavier Primary School Ballina shared how they went about applying successfully for a local council grant to reduce playground waste and the importance of getting the whole school community involved in the project.

Cape Byron Steiner School has been involved for many years now in environmental sustainability with everything they do at their school – “it’s what we do” – presenter Gavin Colley said.

Gavin went on to present an amazing environmental education ecosystem that forms the very essence of Cape Byron Steiner School’s structure, everything from solar powered classrooms to composting toilets. This had the rest of the TeachMeet participants in enviro-heaven.

Thank you to IEU Officers Amy Cotton and Keith Heggart who contributed to the TeachMeet, with Amy presenting a slideshow of the IEU’s new office building in Sydney being retro-fitted for environmental efficiency and minimal impact.

Keith’s presentation involved a short film titled Justice Citizens: An Environmental Film Voice. This film was developed by secondary school students to examine the water quality of the Nepean River at Penrith. Students interviewed and filmed the Nepean Waterkeepers, took water samples from the river, tested these samples and followed up with letter writing to the local council, drawing attention to the water quality issue in their local environment.

The IEU thanks all the participants at the inaugural Lismore TeachMeet and looks forward to further TeachMeets on the north coast in future.

Steve Bergan