CHATHAM Public School students swept its school yard, a reserve, causeway, and a section of Taree Recreation Ground clean of litter and their hard work has earned them the inaugural title of Tidy Up Taree Day Youth Challenge winner and a windfall of $1000.
News of the win rippled through the school on its last day for 2013 and staff and students celebrated the success of their whole-school involvement in the competition.
More than 300 students from kindergarten through to year six worked together over three days to improve the environment in which they learn and areas in close proximity to their school.
The little hands of students in kindergarten, years one and two focused on removing rubbish in the school grounds, students in years three and four were tasked with the perimeter of the school and students in years five and six ventured to Taree Leagues Club, the causeway and Taree Recreation Ground.
Shoes, fishing rods, nappies, zip-lock bags, beer cans, cigarette butts, chip packets and plastic zip-lock bags were some of the items the students picked up in their gloved hands and bagged for disposal in bins.
Administration assistant, Kate Morse said the students collected more than 12 grocery shopping bags of rubbish on each clean-up excursion.
“The kids were amazed with some of the rubbish they found in the causeway. There was rubbish stuck in vegetation, and they found things like shoes, fishing rods and nappies,” Kate explained.
“A large number of empty plastic zip-lock bags were also found and it became a great learning exercise for the kids about the need to limit the use of plastic bags, and to consider ways to reuse them.”
Kate said the students spent between one and two hours collecting rubbish and enjoyed the experience.
“It formed part of the learning that our students do about the environment and it cemented what we teach,” Kate said.
“It was a great success and the school will look at doing it again.”
Assistant principal, Steve McCleary declared the win a “great way to end our year!”
“Apart from having a lot of fun, much was achieved in heightening the awareness of our school community in regards to rubbish, recycling and taking pride in our locality.
“The students were very excited and proud when I told them the good news.”
Mr McCleary said the Students Representative Council would be tasked with the job of deciding how the $1000 would be spent in 2014.
Greater Taree City Council sponsored the Tidy Up Taree Day Youth Challenge and will present the school with the windfall in the New Year.
Council’s youth development officer, Bree Dennis said council was “impressed with the overall level of project management, the projects diversity and overall learning outcomes for the students.”