NSW Ports has helped Warrawong High School launch its Bee Diversity Project that’s empowered students to learn about native bees, food production and how to live more sustainably.
The funding formed part of NSW Ports’ 2022 Community Grants program, which supported diverse groups delivering positive outcomes in the areas of community participation, community infrastructure as well as the environment and sustainability.
NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas said the grants program was one way in which the business was able to give back to Illawarra communities while supporting positive environmental initiatives.
“Warrawong High School was one of 17 groups to benefit from our 2022 grants program, which supported diverse, meaningful projects in the local communities around our ports and intermodal terminals,” Ms Calfas said.
“Port Kembla has a deep connection to the Illawarra that’s endured for almost 125 years, and it continues to be a major employer for the region. Our local community therefore plays an integral role in maintaining port operations that contribute so much to the state and the nation.”
Warrawong High School’s grant was used to acquire native bees, hives and native plants for the bees to feed from. It also supported the delivery of educational workshops for students.
“Warrawong High has been a hive of activity – welcoming native bees and foraging plants while conducting workshops with students and teachers to hear from a specialist on how to care for the bees and incorporate them into their broader permaculture garden,” Ms Calfas said.
“Our business is proud to partner with our local schools and I commend the teachers and staff at Warrawong High who’ve supported this creative learning opportunity for their school community.”
Warrawong High School teacher Katherine Elphick said the project was part of a formal inquiry-based learning unit but was also a fun way for students to engage with environmental issues.
“This project is helping our students learn about the recent decline of bee populations globally, but it’s importantly also giving them the chance to make a positive sustainable change in our own school environment and permaculture garden to help reverse this issue,” Ms Elphick said.
“I thank NSW Ports for its community grant that’s expanded our thriving permaculture garden, which brings so many health and learning benefits to our students, teachers, and staff.”
Warrawong High School Permaculture Coordinator Aaron Sorensen said the school was grateful for the opportunity to expand their ‘living classroom.’
“We’re incredibly proud of our innovative living classroom – it’s a wonderful lighthouse to other educational institutions who are encouraged to build or expand their own programs too,” he said.
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