Low Carbon Schools Pilot Program (LCSPP) participants began the first Meetup with a tour of Applecross Senior High School. The school has certainly been spruced up with old buildings refurbished and the historical features of the school being retained. A new large building for administration, state of the art science classrooms and the canteen has been built to continue good solar access, repeating the alignment of the older buildings.
As with many new projects there seems to be a lack of greenery which hopefully improve with time. While deciduous trees do have their place in constrained spaces in schools, there does seem to be a trend for landscapers to op for introduced trees in places where local species could have been used. Applecross has a comprehensive Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions and with nine people of their committee they should be able to really make important changes of the coming years.
Ardross Primary School, viewed from above, has new roofs which will hopefully mean the school in now fully insulated, a good step for an older school. Fifty years ago most schools just has foil insulation, while better than nothing it is a long way from today’s standard.
The most striking thing about Ardross PS is the stunning native gardens at the front of the school which have been developed over the last six years, a team effort lead by parent Bruce Ivers. Local governments are now coming up withstrategies to increase tree cover in urban areas to reduce the “heat island effect’ which is caused by roads, roofs and other hard surfaces retaining heat and makes suburbs much hotter than the surrounding countryside. Schools offer ideal opportunities to assist by planting trees on site, providing the additional benefits of cooling the school, increasing habitat for wildlife and boosting cognitive outcomes in students. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/green-spaces-make-kids-smarter/395924/
The school has a very impressive native plant nursery, built with attention to detail with infrastructure and management strategies in place to prevent the spread of jarrah dieback. Ardross has a broad range of sustainability initiatives including a very comprehensive recyclingand reuse program, they really are waste wise.
Applecross Senior High School and Ardross Primary school work together to plant trees in the wheatbelt. This project is being expanded to include other schools from the LCSPP and Applecross students have been growing seedlings with Ardross for a number f years.