Sustainability Education

Sustainability is a cross-curriculum priority within the Australian Curriculum which includes,

  • understanding the ways social, economic and environmental systems interact to support and maintain human life
  • appreciating and respecting the diversity of views and values that influence sustainable development
  • participating critically and acting creatively in determining more sustainable ways of living.

Tools & Services

Water and Waste Education: Council has a dedicated team to help your school with resources, tours and presentations on water, waste & recycling education. Students will learn about the water cycle and supply, tips for efficient water use and waste and recycling. Find out more:

Natural Hazards Education: Council has a suite of education resources from K-12 (classroom activities, experiments and lesson plans) aligned to the Australian Curriculum. The Disaster Management Unit can also visit your school to discuss natural hazards and climate change.

Nature Based Learning Grant: Apply for up to $2,000 from Cairns Regional Council to help fund your school's next nature-based excursion.

Solar Tool Kit: Schools can borrow this portable kit to help students learn about renewable energy. The kit features a fan, radio, fluorescent lamp, LCD display, buzzer and energy monitor. To borrow email:

Turtle Stencils: Made from old street signs, these can be used for chalk art of reverse graffiti (pressure cleaning) by students to advocate for responsible litter disposal. The stencils include messages such as ‘bin your butts’ and ‘only rain down this drain’ to highlight the effects of litter on our environmental. To borrow email:

Cool Homes Guide: Assists students to learn tropical building design principles, crucial for emerging builders and architects in the region. The Guide may also assist students entering the Tropical Architecture Awards facilitated by the Business Liaison Association. To order email:

Understory Film Festival: Held in June each year, the competition includes an environmentally themed category which is a great way for students to tell their sustainability story and explore themes from the classroom. High school students can apply with an Understory Film Festival high school application form.

School Programs

Reef Guardian Schools: This Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) program fosters awareness, understanding and appreciation for the Reef and its connected ecosystems. The program has great resources to help students learn about the Reef and the role we all share in protecting it. Council is an active member of the Reef Guardian Program and can also provide advice and support to schools.

TropFutures Network: made up of passionate North Queensland sustainability educators, it includes a mentoring program, matching JCU students to schools to grow your sustainability projects. Curriculum aligned resources from K-10 are also available online.

Teaching Resources

Holloways Beach Environmental Education Centre: A great excursion destination that brings environmental education to life, fostering the knowledge, skills and values for building a sustainable future.

Cool Australia: Curriculum materials for teachers, video library for homes and classrooms and ways to get your school involved in sustainability.

Getting Started with Sustainability in Schools: A portal of 500 free K-10 classroom ready resources linked to the Australian curriculum.

Solution Fluency: Equip your students with solutions- focused thinking to tackle the sustainability challenges of our future. Guide your students through the phases to Define, Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver & Debrief with games, posters and workbooks.

Last updated: 15 May 2017