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Community Leaders in Sustainability Courses

Do you aspire to lead action for environmental sustainability in your community?

The free Community Leaders in Sustainability Course builds skills and training in project management, leadership, grant writing, marketing and communication, building partnerships, effective group work and covers a range of aspects of environmental sustainability.

The course is open to people who live, work or study in the City of Darebin or City of Banyule.

Banyule Community Leaders in Sustainability Course

Applications have now closed for the Banyule Community Leaders in Sustainability Course. Thank you to everyone that applied.
The course runs throughout February and March 2017.

See the Course Schedule for an overview of session content, dates and locations.

Darebin Community Leaders in Sustainability Course

The Darebin course began in October 2016 and runs through until February 2017. There are 25 enthusiastic members of the Darebin community taking part. Here is the 2016/17 Course Schedule

Projects from 2015/16

Congratulations to the 48 graduates from the 2015/16 course. Here are some of the exciting projects that resulted from the course. To find out more about these projects or to get involved, phone 8470 8405.

Speaking of Sustainability A new eco/sustainability-focused public speaking group in the Banyule area. Operates as a Toastmasters club with access to all Toastmasters International training resources and support. Meets the first and third Tuesdays every month in Heidelberg West. See the Speaking of Sustainability Facebook Group for details.

Bicycle Rodeo Fun and positive clinic to teach kids basic skills to ride a bike safely. It involves 8 activity stations each staffed by a volunteer and includes: safety and maintenance inspection of the bike; helmet fit and condition; skills test on a course. Participants get a scorecard and certificate at the end. The Rodeo was delivered at the Banyule Sustainable Transport Show in April, and is ready for future community events and festivals. The kids favourite station? The "Slow Race!"

Sustainable House Tours A series of educational tours of energy and water efficient houses to demonstrate low consumption living in suburbia - not just the houses themselves, but the sustainable ways people live in them.

Pony Club Hill Environment Plan A 5 year environmental and revegetation plan for the North Eastern Pony Club, Viewbank. Includes pony club working bees. Stakeholders are North East Pony Club, Parks Vic, Banyule Council, residents.

The Back Yard Building a nature-based playscape on site at Rosanna Gumnuts playgroup and Rosanna Scouts. Nature-based play looks at creating engaging and sustainable environments for 0-5 y.o. and older children. This environment will include indigenous plants, herb and vegetable, water play through onsite harvesting and art based community engagement. The site is located at Rosanna Scout Hall, De Winton Oval. Currently the project is exploring soil remediation options, to make the ground safe for kids.

Monty Primary School Planting and Children's Habitat Gardens Twenty-five children receive 6 indigenous plants to plant at home to start or extend a habitat garden. They'll learn about best practice planting, and activities to record and document their growing garden. The gardens will enhance the habitat value of the Montmorency wildlife corridor.

St Pius X Community Environment Park Creating a public access sanctuary in Heidelberg West where people can gather to eat and grow food, develop friendships and connections with wider community, learn skills and knowledge around sustainability, or relax and reflect with friends and family.

Banyule + Växjö Environmental Connections Banyule, Victoria and Växjö, Sweden become sister cities or similar, for environmental stewardship and sustainability exchange. Community groups on each side of the globe communicate, teach and learn.

TreeCycle Work with children at St Pius X School to raise their awareness of recyclable materials and experience how these can be used to create art which enhances the environment. The children bring materials, rescued from waste, then plan how these can be used to create a tree which will stand in the Community Environmental Park.

Eat Your Street Starting small in Thornbury, this project grows food in front yards and nature strips. As the interest grows among neighbours, the plan is to build momentum and develop a shared food resource for the street.

All Nations Park Kitchen Garden Running events and activities to look after and build the profile of this marvelous community resource behind the Plaza in the park on Separation St, Northcote. Get your hands dirty at the monthly working bee - first Sunday morning every month. Enjoy a chat and a taste of the fragrant goodies growing.

Darebin Creek Sweepers Holds a "Creek-Sweep" on the third Sunday of every month, 10.30am, at various sites on Darebin Creek. Working with Darebin Creek Management Committee and the two Council Bush Crews. Hundreds of kgs of litter collected and sorted already. Visit Darebin Creek Sweepers on Facebook.

Green Renters Web App Designing and promoting a smartphone app that allows renters to rate rental properties according to their environmental sustainability features.

WeCycle A scheme to collect, repair and distribute bikes to people in need. More than 100 bikes have been donated and 30-plus distributed after six months. For more info visit the WeCycle website.

Fodder trees for Bundoora Park Farm Fodder trees (edible by stock and other animals) and landscape trees planted at Bundoora Farm by volunteers.


The 2014-15 Course

There were 44 Community Leaders who graduated in June 2015. Their projects include:
Textile Art Community Inc. - Formed to find creative uses for materials that would otherwise go to waste, and to make useful items and art pieces. An exhibition TACtile was held in June 2016. For more information see the Textile Art Community Facebook page.

Urban Garden Collective - Community Compost. This project develops a composting system that receives organic material from residents and businesses in the local area, at the Urban Garden Collective - a food garden and gathering place next to Bell Station in Preston. See the Urban Garden Collective Facebook page for more info.

Save Our Citrus - A series of information workshops and a coordinated approach to the treatment and disposal of citrus gall wasp from the lemon trees of Banyule and Darebin. Visit the Save Our Cirtus Facebook page

St Pius X Community Garden design - the design of a food garden located at St Pius X Primary School in West Heidelberg, which will also be accessed by adjacent public housing residents and aged care residents.

Yaro Yaro River Walk - The development of a cultural and natural heritage walk among significant sites along the Yarra River in Banyule, in partnership with the Wurundjeri Land Council.

Street Action Group Story - Documenting the process through which residents in a street can work together effectively to oppose inappropriate development or projects which damage the local environment or community.

Reducing Food Waste 3081 - A range of workshops and activities to help households and communities in postcode 3081 with a range of actions and strategies to avoid food waste.

Convivial Organics - Redistributing organic waste from Mercy Hospital to composting systems at gardens across Banyule.

Our Local Hub - This project helps community groups develop a strong onlione presence. A slick online tool was created to help community groups promote themselves and share their actions effectively online. Go to the Our Local Hub website to make use of what's on offer.

Alphington community Compost Hub - Managing a compost hub at Alphington Community Centre to demonstrate and educate about composting and provide an organic waste drop-off point for local residents and small businesses.

Sustain Banyule Map - A database and map of community and environmental groups, initially in Banyule, expanding to Darebin and Nillumbik.

Transition Streets - Arising from the Transition Towns movement, several Leaders are convening groups of neighbours who meet to discuss the ways communities impact the natural environment, and adopt strategies and actions together to reduce impacts and sustain environments, while increasing connectedness and relationships in the local neighbourhood.
There are seven workbooks for this project:
Workbook 1 - Introduction
Workbook 2 - Water
Workbook 3 - Energy
Workbook 4 - Food
Workbook 5 - Transport
Workbook 6 - Consumption and waste
Workbook 7 - Where to from here?

2014 - session information - session 1

The Lemon Tree Project presentation can be viewed here

2014 - session two

The project management session outline and handouts can viewed as follows:
project brief template
project logic template
project proposal checklist
six thinking hats

Here is a copy of our brainstorming around why we resist planning as well as closing a project

And here is a photo showing the stages of a project, and again with more detail

And another photo showing what a project needs to succeed and one showing other things to think about!

2014 - session three

This session was about how best to prepare a grant application (tips and pitfalls!), as well as various grant opportunities. Here are the presentations about Darebin Council's community grants, Banyule Council's community grants, Leader Newspaper grants, preparing and writing a grant application including the pre-grant application checklist and the grant acquittal checklist.

And here is the Grantseeking Basics document which was provided.

We also heard about the Better Block project and the Banyule Bike Train in this session.

2014 - session four

This session is about how best to use the media to promote the environmental work (projects) we are engaged in. Fiona talked about mainstream media and Pat talked about social media...

2014 - session five

In this session Ian McBurney, sustainability speaker, educator and facilitator delivered an empowering, fun and energising session about what it means to be a leader in sustainability and bring about postive environmental change. Check out more of Ian on his website...

Maree Trentin also talked about her experience setting up a vegetable garden and teaching program at St Bernadette's Primary School. Maree's presentation highlighted the benefits of working in partnership with local organisations which helped ensure positive outcomes at St Bernadettes. Maree's presentation can be seen here.

2014 - session six

In this session Meg Montague talked to us about teamwork, forming partnerships, aligning expectations and how best to deal with common challenges faced by community groups. Meg's handout otlining some ideas about what to do when trouble strikes can be found here. Meg gave us some basic foundations for dealing with challenges including managing ourselves and our own emotions, putting in place some basic ground rules or agreements, forming a good framework within which to work and communicate, and making use of the four N's - notice the issue, name the issue, normalise the issue and negotiate a solution. Meg also recommended these resources for further information - "Getting Our Act Together" by Glen Ochre (book) and "Hot Spots & Tricky bits" (DVD)

2014 - session seven

This session revisits project initiation and planning, and other project management principles before allowing time to begin plotting and planning our own projects. Julie French has provided a couple of extra handouts - one on points to remember when delivering your projects, and one on what to do to wrap up your p roject or when your project has finished. Julie also showed us how to develop and use a risk matrix. This session also included a presentation by Liz Zanella about the Darebin Fruit Squad.

2014 - course graduation ceremony

We had a wonderful time celebrating not only everyone's participation and completion of the course, but the inspiring and worthwhile community environmental projects which will be delivered by participants, as well as the connections made between so many passionate and like-minded people. Check out our graduation photos!

2014 - other bits and pieces

All course participants, whether individually or as part of a group, have been asked to use their new found knowledge and skills to deliver a project which brings positive environmental outcomes to their communities. These projects can be as big or as small as participants can manage, and cover a wide range of environmental/sustainable living topics.

Here is the project description/planning template which for all participants were required to complete and return to the course coordinator.

And here is a list of some of the interesting projects coming from the course...

• The establishment of a local seed bank which will educate the community about growing food, strengthen our local food system, and help tackle the issue of food security
• The creation of a community food and indigenous garden, and community meeting space on vacant land near Croxton Station
• The uploading of Darebin’s cycling routes to Google Maps so that more people can cycle more safely within our municipality
• The scoping of a community solar project with the aim of providing access to solar generated electricity to residents who rent their homes or live in apartments
• The retrofitting of an apartment block in Thornbury, and the development of a ‘how-to’ booklet to be make available to other owners corporations
• The delivery of a range of sustainable living workshops at the Alphington Community Centre
• Integrating upcycled textiles in everyday life and community projects; this project also aims to educate people about textile waste and ways to reuse textiles
• Revitalising laneways so that they become community meeting spaces and food growing areas
• Introducing recycling to several local promary schools
• Developing a fix-it space to which people can bring household items for repair (so that they are reused and not sent to landfill)
• Creating art installations which champion an environmental theme
• Delivering jewellery making from waste workshops
• Developing a community space in which food gardening workshops and demonstrations can be held
• Planting an orchard near the Macleod Station
• Developing a composting program for local cafes in Montmorency
• As well as several other food growing projects

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