Welcome to the Curriculum & Leadership Journal website.
To receive our fortnightly Email Alert,
please click on the blue menu item below.
Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
Follow us on twitter

Adelaide River Primary School: Leaders in Environmental Education

Jane Ellem
Adelaide River Primary School

A range of projects at Adelaide River Primary School illustrate its achievements in Environmental Education and participation in the local community.

Adelaide River Primary School's Enviromission is: 'To ensure the balance and continuation of our wider community and school environment for future generations'.

This statement was developed through a consultation process between students, parents and staff of Adelaide River Primary School, and members of the local community. The students of the upper primary class developed and refined the statement in 2003, which was then accepted by the School Council.

Our school has a policy of including Environmental Education in day-to-day learning. The policy has produced benefits in terms of the students' attitudes towards the school and its grounds, and towards schoolwork and attendance.

The school has assisted the local community to win numerous Tidy Towns Awards, and has itself won the Schools Tidy Towns award a number of times.

The school bases its environmental focus on the message 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle'. All staff, students and school community members are urged to implement these three 'Rs'.

Adelaide River Primary School always participates in National Tree Planting Day, World Environment Day and Arbor Week. The school's first tree, planted in 1965, is currently on the Significant Tree Register. The school follows Landcare principles closely, and participates in Clean Up Australia Day.


Adelaide River School has been involved in Waterwatch for four years. Students learn in the classroom about the significance of water through the NT Waterwatch Education Package, and then participate in water quality management by monitoring sites in our catchment area. The monitoring is conducted monthly, and the data is collated for the National Waterwatch Database.

The school has approached individuals regarding water quality and the maintenance of our catchment when they are seen to be doing the wrong thing. We also talk with landowners regarding water usage and chemical usage near waterways, as well as about livestock management. The students are very familiar with all of these topics, and can have an educated discussion with community members.

Gardening and Community Service

The whole school is involved in the process of gardening at our school. The school has a vegetable garden, as well as many fruit trees, and aims to create an edible forest. The students also have a shade house in which they grow native species from local seed collections to rehabilitate areas around Adelaide River. This work also provides species for our gardens, and reduces water usage and attracts native fauna. The school has been involved in developing gardens at the Adelaide River Railway Station and in maintaining the gardens along Memorial Drive, towards the Adelaide River War Cemetery.

Robin Falls Rehabilitation Project

In 2001 a student, while on Waterwatch monitoring, was upset by the treatment of the area around Robin Falls, an area 17km south west of Adelaide River, which is popular with locals and tourists. Erosion, the spread of weeds, rubbish and the destruction of native flora were affecting the locality.

Greening Australia Northern Territory (GANT) assisted the school's successful application for a Top End Nature Grant to deal with these problems. As a result, we have achieved successes at Robin Falls. We have collected seeds, grown tube stock, replanted over 500 trees, put in 200 bollards, eradicated weeds, managed water quality, stopped erosion, and put in signage. We have also identified ongoing issues that will be addressed over the coming years, and have written plans for managing water catchment, fires, and the spread of weeds. This huge project has inspired students' written work and has generated activities around numeracy in the classroom.


In 2003, Adelaide River Primary School won the Northern Territory section of the Envirosmart Awards. Overall the school was found to display some excellent practices. The Years 4 to 7 classes audited the school in the areas of waste, land use, electricity, water and air. Water bills were assessed, electrical appliances were looked at for efficiency, land use plans implemented and fire management practices suggested to the Fire and Emergency Response Group. Students also assisted local businesses in auditing and improving their practices.

This is an ongoing project that is revisited once a semester to see how the school is faring.

Biological Control of Weeds

In 2003 and 2004 the Weeds Branch of the Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment (DIPE) approached us to assist them in the development of biological control of weeds in our area. Over the past two years, the school has helped to breed the mimosa moth and the Sida beetle, and have released them locally. The students now understand the various methods of weed eradication. This hands-on approach is part of our philosophy. Students still monitor sites of release to see the effectiveness of this process.

We are a busy school that prides itself on its approach to the local environment. We promote our philosophy through displays at local businesses, in our newsletter, in government publications, and in local and Territory newspapers. We are proud of our achievements and believe strongly in the future.


Subject Headings

Case studies
Environmental Education
Northern Territory