Write it Up! Case Studies

Case Study 1: Youth LEAD: from little things, big things grow
Youth LEAD is a leadership and entrepreneurship program, which enables young people, aged 15–25 to design sustainability projects—and put them into action. Youth LEAD helps engage, equip and enable young people to improve their environment, lives and the world.
Prior to joining the program, participants felt that practical, positive ways to help solve their environmental and social concerns were hard to find. They didn’t know where to start, and many of their friends were more excited about buying new things than improving issues such as environmental degradation, consumerism or youth health.
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Case Study 2: The Environmental Champions Program: engaging an agricultural industry
There is increasing pressure on agriculture to demonstrate good environmental management. As a user of Australia’s valuable water resources, the rice industry is under scrutiny. Australian rice growers aim to pass a healthy farm and region onto future generations. However an increasing volume of legislation and other information is making this goal an overwhelming task.
Designed and implemented by rice growers, the Environmental Champions Program (ECP) works with the whole community to:

  • achieve more sustainable farm practices
  • simplify complex legislation and other information
  • improve public perception of the rice industry.

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Case Study 3: The Watershed: an Urban Sustainability Resource Centre
The Watershed Sustainability Resource Centre offers community access to a wide range of sustainability education projects and activities in inner-city Newtown. It aims to improve the ecological footprint of local residents and businesses.
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Case Study 4: What if it’s not in anyone’s backyard? Tom Thumb Lagoon
This project aims to restore Tom Thumb Lagoon, previously degraded by harbour reclamation, stormwater and a nearby rubbish tip. The project also aims to promote the importance of the Lagoon and inspire people to participate in conservation measures.
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Case Study 5: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Audit
The aim of an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage education audit was to extend education forsustainability programs when developing, implementing or reviewing School EnvironmentalManagement Plans.
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Audits (ACHA) enhance audit tools provided in the NSW Department of Education and Training document Implementing the Environmental Education Policy in your School and in the Catholic Education document On Holy Ground. Other audit tools in those documents include biodiversity, connectivity and habitat, curriculum, energy, products and resources, storm water and water.
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Case Study 6: Adopt a Plot
The Adopt a Plot project began as an Envirofund 12 month grant project, allowing residents around Cremorne Reserve to 'adopt' an area of bushland. The idea came from members of the local Bushcare group and was a successful concept that rapidly exceeded expectations, with minimal promotion. Now in its fourth year, the project has expanded and operates in three reserves in the North Sydney Council area. This case study explains the operational aspects as well as the elements of sustainability that have made it challenging and successful. It is hoped that it will provide valuable information for environmental educators to replicate or adapt the project for their local communities
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Case Study 7: Natural Skin Care
Although an unlikely match with sustainability education, beauty is a powerful and engaging topic that many people can readily relate to.
The development and delivery of a workshop that not only incorporates aspects of beauty but is applicable to all ages and cultures, can be easily translated into different languages, and compels community members to become more aware of their environmental impact is a challenge.
Beauty, however, is a topic that every language and culture has dealt with. Most people, especially women, will at some point in life be interested in beauty. This topic is therefore an effective ‘hook’ with which to engage members of the community who perhaps may not otherwise be interested in issues of sustainability.
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Case Study 8: An Intergenerational approach to Sustainability planning in Ku-ring-gai
Community strategic plans or sustainability plans are becoming a new reality for local government. Ku-ring-gai Council has commenced an ongoing
process to formulate its strategic direction and create a long term sustainability performance and reporting system. Intergenerational equity principles have been applied to engage with the community, Councillors and staff in a sustainability planning process that will direct operations and programs over the next 25 years.
This model of social engagement and capacity building required representation of people spanning a number of generations from a specific locality. The age based consultation has highlighted different issues of concern across generations, enabling Council to better target and focus on implementing initiatives of relevance to particular age groups.
This approach has strengthened the relationships Ku-ring-gai’s people have with their social and physical environments and improved their understanding of sustainability. It has captured residents’ future aspirations and activated community participation in the planning and management of local sustainability initiatives.
Intergenerational representation and engagement of Ku-ring-gai’s community has assisted the planning and management of sustainability initiatives by recognising that there are many quieter but equally legitimate voices rarely heard in government policy.
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Case Study 9: Lapstone Public School Living Class Room
Lapstone Public School Living Class Room project has been a collaboration between a range of stake-holders within the school and the wider community. Initiated in 2003, the program has been so successful it is now being integrated into the broader school curriculum.
The aim of the project is to involve children at primary school level in growing, harvesting and cooking vegetables so that they might become more aware of sustainable living and discover that growing their own food is easy and fun.
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Case Study 10: Learnscapes
How did one small school's homegrown language program evolve to be recognised as a best practice model of environmental education?
The Learnscapes program aims to provide meaningful student learning opportunities efficiently and effectively, while also improving the look, function and use of the school grounds for all living things.
More than twenty years of action research and development has resulted in a participatory learning process that can be undertaken by any school. The following case study, based on Harwood Island Public School’s experience in Northern NSW, traces the evolution of this innovative and holistic approach to education for sustainability.
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Case Study 11: Linking up for Sustainability
Working together to increase the potential of empowering the wider community towards better knowledge and practical solutions for sustainability.
In four campuses across the New England Institute teachers were working on delivering units from the Learning for Sustainability Statement of Attainment. Whilst there was some sharing of resources and ideas we wanted to increase the collaboration of working together as well as building partnerships with likeminded community organisations to empower individuals in the wider community towards better knowledge and practical solutions for sustainability.
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Case Study 12: Bringing Namoi rural communities together for capacity building and support
This project is a unique capacity-building initiative developed in the North West Slopes and Plains Region of NSW to renew and support rural community life.
Maintaining strong community networks is vital for the future viability of rural communities. Years of drought and other economic and social pressures have taken a huge toll on many traditional rural community networks such as Village Hall Committees, Progress Associations, CWA branches, Rural Bush Fire Brigades and Landcare groups. These groups and other rural community networks have been the “backbone of the bush” and essential in combating social and economic stressors.Volunteer fatigue and aging communities exacerbated problems.
In the North West Slopes and Plains Region of NSW, spanning the local government areas of Tamworth, Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains, a special community capacity building initiative has been developed to address this problem.
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Case Study 13: North Katoomba Catchment Restoration and Action Project
An innovative, holistic approach to catchment management that has become a model for the sustainable management of natural resources.
The overall aim of The North Katoomba Catchment Restoration and Action Project (NKRAP) is to involve the local community and other key stakeholders in a holistic catchment restoration project that delivers long-term environmental outcomes (sustaining the natural capital), while exploring how to build community and live sustainably within the area (sustaining the social capital).
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Case Study 14: Sustainability Street in Willoughby
The Sustainability Street® program, developed by Vox Bandicoot Pty Ltd, has allowed Willoughby residents the opportunity to undertake their own inspirational sustainability projects, with support from Council who introduced the program in 2005. Three years on, this case study describes the challenges, outcomes and lessons learned by Willoughby City Council to the benefit of environmental educators everywhere.
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Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Audit - Joelle Bridger - final.pdf3.09 MB
Adopt a Plot - Megan Hughes - final.pdf178.15 KB
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