Tamara and Millen Primary School


They say kids today are digital natives. My theory is that they are also nature and sustainability natives. 

When you hear a student say, out of the blue, “I’m starting an environmental club, meet me at recess if you want to join,” or when you start a conversation with the kids on how oceans work, the impact of global warming, their desire to plant more trees, you see they really do have innate understandings and want to make a difference. 

As an educator, you realise that you can help these young people make that difference by providing opportunities that support their growth as creative, confident, sustainable focused individuals. 

This realisation has helped propelled our journey as a Sustainable School and brought to life our Planet Millen team of staff, students and community members. Our Boodja (Noongar for “Country”) Band has students lining up to join, our community is getting into greening and waste management, and of course, our Urban Forest initiative planted 27 trees for each class to be guardians of. 

I think our urban forest planting has given all of us - students, teachers, parents, grandparents - the opportunity to go back to basics and connect. 

Our students are learning hands-on about recycling and maths when they use their old milk jugs to give their trees 50L of water per week. They get fresh air and a little free play when caring for their trees. Spending time out in nature and free from mobile devices is so important. 

Parents and teachers are going to op-shops to cut, sew and create our Boodja Band vests, and getting creative themselves with ideas to repurpose our sump and build a Cockatoo Corner for the birds and for the community to enjoy.

Clontarf College students volunteered to help us plant our new 27 trees, local Elder Professor Simon Forrest shared stories and knowledge with our students and Alton Walley performed a smoking ceremony to bless the new trees.

It can be overwhelming to get started with such a big and important thing like sustainability but there is so much information and support out there, like the Town’s Urban Forest program. 

When you see and experience all of these positives from the act of planting trees, you forget about the struggles and the hard work. Instead you get this this wonderful thing called hope. And that’s a powerful feeling to keep everyone going.