Miners help schools get closer to environment

DURI Public School is one of four schools in the Tamworth and Gunnedah regions to be awarded an EnviroSmart Award from BHP Billiton’s Caroona Coal Project.

The schools have each received $1000, with Duri set to establish a native bird habitat in its grounds.

NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee visited the recipient schools yesterday to present them with their cheques.

Duri classroom teacher Lois Burley had lodged the application for the grant and was ecstatic it was successful.

She said the children had wanted somewhere to enjoy the outdoors.

“The students said they were interested in creating an environment that would attract birds and lizards,” she said. 

“They sat down and drew things they would be interested in seeing.” 

The environmentally- friendly school already has a frog pond, solar panels and a vegie garden.

Mr Galilee said it was amazing to see what small schools could do to stretch often small budgets to achieve their goals.

The Parry School received a grant to create a vegie garden to use in cooking classes.

Timbumburi Public will develop a drought-tolerant passive play area.

Curlewis Public plans to make a native garden with bush tucker plants to encourage birdlife. 

Their projects will be part of the 250 already completed by schools since 2004. Mr Galilee said 16 of the state’s mine companies now took part in the expanding awards and had collectively contributed more than $37,000 in grants this year.

“The program aims to inspire students to be aware of environmental issues and to take pride in their school, while raising community awareness of the way local miners care for the environment,” he said.

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