Dandaragan Primary School is a small rural school of approx 60 students, situated 161kms north of    Perth.
 For over 10 years, Dandaragan Primary has been involved with projects

 such as; Ribbons of Blue and Weather Watch,  Tree planting, and  Clean Up’ days.

In 2004, under a former Principal, awareness of the meaning of sustainability was instigated within the school community and new on-site projects started. Although this Principal has now moved on, the philosophy and commitment of the school continues.

 Leadership and Policy

Dandaragan’s current Principal is fully supportive of all sustainability initiatives.

Dandaragan school

The school has a Sustainability/Environmental Steering Committee, which includes the principal, staff, parents, a parent representative from the Billinu Aboriginal Community, and a Natural Resource Management (NRM) officer. The school also intends to add two student members to the committee so that student views are represented, and sustainability messages are effectively communicated to their peers. In 2005 and 2006, the school’s science teacher took on the role of Education for Sustainability (EfS) Coordinator.

All decisions made by the Sustainability Committee are discussed and approved at staff meetings before being promoted to parents at Parent Information Nights.

The school’s Environmental Projects Plan outlines a range of projects and identifies the related learning outcomes as well as specifying actions to be taken, people to be involved, time lines and funding.

In 2006, the projects included:

 • Further development of the school’s worm farms

 • Developing a composting centre

 • Embarking on ‘waste wise’ activities

 • Participation in Clean Up Australia Day

 • Seed collection

 • Water monitoring at Minyulo Creek

 • Rare flora planting with local community members

 • Planet Ark Schools Tree Day activities

 • Weather Watch /AirWatch activities

 • School Open Day

 • Developing a ‘Chill Out’ area within the school grounds, a special area of gardens, paving and tables for use by the Senior Room students.

 This was an initiative of the 2005 leavers.

 • Developing a Sustainability DVD

 • Planting vegetables on a seasonal basis in the school’s permaculture garden.

The school plans to encourage as much community interaction / involvement as possible with these projects, and to enhance student interest and motivation with a range of competitions.


Dandaragan Primary has made a commitment towards many ‘waste wise’ activities, including:

 • Using a two tray system in each classroom with the slogan “Red is dead and White is alright” – reusing paper that is only used on one side for note writing and shredding paper that has been used on both sides. Savings from reduction in paper use will be added to the worm juice and egg fund.

• Hosting a Litterbug drawing competition and participating in Schools Clean Up Australia Day. In 2006, the Shire provided gloves, and a community representative from Advance Dandaragan Progress Association assisted by taking the bags to the local landfill site.

• Bagsmart program in Term 2, 2006 to encourage the use of plastic bag alternatives. This is an awareness program that informs the community about the environmental impact of plastic bags and suggests alternative options. It is an initiative of Enterprise in the Community in partnership with the Waste Management Board and the Department of Environment and Conservation

• Feeding vegetable scraps to the school’s chooks and selling the eggs within the school community.

The school manages three worm farms, selling worm juice at school assemblies. In 2006, a visit from Kevin Smith of “The Worm Shed” revitalised enthusiasm about worms when students made individual worm farms.


In 2005, three Dandaragan students won prizes in a Travel Smart poster competition.


Dandaragan has worked in partnership with several community organisations to promote sustainability of local ecosystems.

Kings Park Botanic Gardens cultivated seedlings of rare flora, which were then planted by students in around the school and local community.

Students attended a Greening Australia Flora Identification Workshop in 2005 to enhance their ability to recognise and care for native plants.

Dandaragan was also a trial school for the Ghastly Guests Unit through the Weeds Cooperative Research Centre, funded by the Australian Commonwealth Government. This curriculum-linked unit of work introduced upper primary students to the study of weeds, their adaptations, dispersal, dominance and threats to the environment and agriculture.

By researching weeds using scientific investigative methods in a local bush reserve,upper primary students gained a better understanding of how the problem can be managed.


The installation of photovoltaic solar cells on the school’s roof is contributing to the reduction in demand for energy derived from fossil fuels. Student Energy Monitors ensure that lights are turned off around the school when not in use.


Dandaragan Primary has been a Waterwise school since 2001. In 2003, students planted native ‘water wise’ gardens around the school, and the school uses mulch to minimise water evaporation and keep the gardens healthy.

The school has the Biomax toilet system whereby waste is treated and used on gardens. Subsurface drip irrigation is installed under the school lawns and garden beds.

In 2005, Dandaragan Primary was named the top Waterwise School in the Mid West Region via a Water Corporation competition and received $500.

Students work with regional and local NRM officers to monitor the water at Minyulo Creek and have produced graphs comparing the health of the creek over the past two years.

Students are also establishing revegetation at Caren Caren Brook, and have taken photos to show the changes following planting of sedges (2006).


Dandaragan Primary has been fortunate in eliciting the support of many government and local agencies, which have provided financial assistance for the school’s sustainability programs, including Tiwest support the school with $5000 each year for important projects such as the funding of a digital video camera for a Sustainability DVD project.

The Advance Dandaragan Progress Association and Dandaragan Shire work in partnership with the school on community-based projects such as tree planting and Clean up Australia Day.

In 2005, Dandaragan Primary School was a finalist in the United Nations Environment Awards and sent two teachers and two students to the presentation dinner in Melbourne.


Staff are making a commitment to using sustainability as a context for learning, embedding relevant activities into the school’s curriculum, and planning for appropriate student outcomes. For example, conducting a rubbish survey during Clean Up Australia Day is an ideal maths activity, and ‘Litterbug’ activities link well to Society and Environment and Health outcomes.

“Sustainable practices are becoming embedded in the school planning and day to day activities. It has a ‘snowball effect’, with parents and community members making suggestions and even dropping off household scraps for chooks and worms.”

“Do each thing well so that staff, students and community can see evidence of success. Start small, then add slowly.”


Sustainability Coordinator, 2005/6