STUDENTS in a support unit class at Coonabarabran High School have been awarded a very prestigious title.
The D7 support unit class are this year's NSW Young Environmental Citizens of the Year for their environmental leadership in developing eco-sustainability programs and their significant contributions to the school's Return and Earn program.
It's the second award the students have received this year after they were honoured during the Warrumbungle Shire Council Australia Day ceremony with the Young Environmental Citizen of the Year Award.
Head teacher of the support unit, Sharon Rankmore, said the whole school was "so proud" of the students.
"Their leadership has been a true positive in our school," she said.
"This award is a significant achievement for the class because it reinforces to them their potential and the power of collaborative action."
Mrs Rankmore said the recycling program started when the unit was first opened in 2005.
It involved students entering classrooms to collect the recycling boxes and transferring the contents to the collection centre.
The program was expanded in 2019 across the three support unit classes when eco-sustainability units were integrated into the unit's science program. This was helped by a grant which led to the establishment of a learning garden.
Mrs Rankmore said they would use the award winnings to 'grow' the recycling program to include composting food scraps from recess and lunch.
This would be used in the food gardens the students maintained for their food technology classes.
"It's gratifying to know that a small group of students with disabilities in a small, rural NSW town are recognised for contributing to the health of the planet," Mrs Rankmore said.
"This award will highlight the great learning that occurs in NSW public schools and in particular how we strive to ensure that our environments are inclusive of all students.
"For our community this recognition will certainly enhance the self-esteem of all involved - students, staff, and their families."
The award was announced by NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean on the weekend to coincide with World Environment Day.
Mr Kean said the students at Coonabarabran high were "making a real difference in their local communities and setting an important example for others to follow".
"The youngsters are an inspiration to all schools around the state," Mr Kean said.
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