Who? The Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group (LMWRRG), one of seven waste and resource recovery groups linking state & local governments, community and industry in Victoria.

Where? A region in Victoria’s north-west corner bordering South Australia and New South Wales and into Central Victoria as far south as Gisborne. The region is large, occupying a quarter of Victoria.

What? One of the LMWRRG’s objectives is to educate businesses and communities to reduce waste going to landfill. The group has purchased 50 Cool Australia professional development (PD) courses to give to teachers at active ResourceSmart schools in the region.

Why? To upskill teachers on sustainability issues. To make PD accessible to regional teachers. To provide ongoing sustainability resources. To recognise and reward teachers.

Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Schools program supports schools and early learning services to reduce resource use, make cost savings, integrate sustainability into the curriculum and share learnings beyond the school gate.

Loddon Mallee ResourceSmart Schools Coordinator Ellen White and Facilitator Michelle Barton say providing Cool Australia scholarships is an excellent way to upskill teachers on sustainability issues.

“We love your website,” says Michelle. “Teachers have confidence that the courses are engaging and well planned with explicit links to sustainability and the Victorian Curriculum.”

The scholarship program makes PD accessible to regional teachers in their own communities.

“Regional teachers don’t often have opportunities to travel into cities to attend PD workshops and seminars”, Ellen says.

“Mildura is six hours from Melbourne, even Bendigo is a few hours’ drive,” she says. “Attending a workshop is a whole day or two days out of the classroom for a teacher. What I like is, it’s online; a one-stop shop. A whole lot of resources accessible to all of the teachers.”

Many local governments have waste recovery staff but few have education officers who educate the community about waste, composting and recycling, and they can’t do it all. The ResourceSmart Schools program provides teachers with an understanding of how to encourage behaviour change and resources to use throughout their sustainability journey.

“When working with the teachers we have limited hours,” Michelle says. “Teachers need ongoing resources to keep coming back to. Cool Australia ticks quite a few boxes including community waste education. All the resources are in one place – teachers can just grab and go.”

Ellen and Michelle believe that providing PD scholarships is a great way to acknowledge and show appreciation for the work of teachers at ResourceSmart Schools as well as provide an incentive for schools to remain active and involved.

After all… who doesn’t like free stuff? And the chance to complete accredited PD hours without leaving the comfort of the couch!

For more information please contact [email protected].