Sustainability Education

Phone 4044 3253 or contact via email

Would you like to make your school more sustainable? Are you looking for exciting and practical ideas to incorporate sustainability into your school program?

Council supports schools to implement sustainability education programs and initiatives.

At its core, sustainable living is about well-being: a connected community, education and employment, a healthy environment, sustainable industry and reliable infrastructure.

Note: For more information and curriculum aligned resources, visit

Cairns ECOfiesta

Phone 4044 3253 or contact via email

Opportunity for schools or individual classes to exhibit their sustainability projects and achievements to the wider community. The Cairns ECOfiesta celebrates our unique natural environment and the businesses and organisations working to balance environmental, social and economic considerations for a sustainable, secure and vibrant future.


Holloways Beach Environmental Education Centre

Phone 4055 9300 or contact via email

Great excursion destination for schools in the Cairns area. The centre brings education to life, providing real-life learning experiences to foster knowledge, skills and values for building a sustainable future.

2015 Enrichment Program

In 2014 the Holloways Beach Environmental Education Centre (HBEEC) introduced a new program to cater for gifted and talented students at primary schools in the Cairns area called the Cairns District Schools Science and Environmental Sustainability Enrichment Program.

Council entered into an agreement to contribute funding towards The Program for a period of 3 years. The Program is aimed at engaging talented and gifted Year 5 students in applying science to real issues. Students are required to identify, develop and facilitate community sustainability initiatives and develop partnerships with industry experts.

Holloways 1Holloways 2

Reef Guardian School Program

Phone 4044 3253 or contact via email

Council is an active member of the Reef Guardian Program and can provide advice and support to schools who are also members of the Reef Guardian Program. The Reef Guardian Schools Program creates awareness, understanding and appreciation for the reef and its connected ecosystems.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has some great resources to help students learn about the reef and the role we all share in protecting it.

Reef Guardian Logo

Stormwater Stencils

Turtle stencils cut from old street signs that can be used for temporary signage on pathways and walls through chalk art or reverse graffiti.

Badge your school drains and gutters with turtle and fish stencils to create a visual connection between the land and the sea.

Note: To book the stormwater stencils email

Gordonvale State School StencilsRedlynch Stencil 2Stencil

Solar Briefcase

Learn how solar power works with a hands-on solar panel that powers a fan, radio, and lamp, all in a convenient briefcase for portability.

Note: To book the solar briefcase email

Solar Panels

Water and Waste Education

Phone 4044 8352 or contact via email

Exciting Water and Waste educational resources, presentations and engaging activities are offered to all schools within the Cairns region.

Visit the Water and Waste Education page on Council’s website to make a booking for a tour or school incursion through the online booking calendar system.

Note: Bookings are essential and due to high demand, we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.

Water Education

Book online on the Water and Waste Education page or contact via email  WWMarketing&

WaterWhys Cairns Education Resources

The Thrive campaign is designed to educate Cairns residents on outdoor water use as part of a strategy to reduce demand.

As part of this campaign, Council has developed WaterWhys Cairns educational resources aimed at:

  • Providing teachers with exciting resources
  • Enabling teachers to deliver engaging and meaningful in-school learning experiences
  • Fun, hands-on, interactive lesson plans and activities that are linked to the Australian Curriculum
  • Local links with Council’s unique local water campaign and initiatives
  • Local Indigenous connections with water

Resources are presented in 3 educational kits for Lower primary, upper primary and secondary students, including topics such as monitoring rainfall in Cairns to track when we need to be watering our gardens, home and school water audits to help identify water savings as well as experiments to investigate Cairns water treatment and supply.

Note: Council also offers professional development to both primary and secondary teachers on water education.

Water Education

Phone 4044 8352 or contact via email

Phone 4044 8352 or contact via email

Council can help your school with resources, tours and presentations on water conservation, production and supply.

Thrive Campaign

A clever and interactive advertising campaign designed to educate Cairns residents in outdoor water use as part of a strategy to reduce water demand.

Waste education resources:

Free educational school presentations and tours are provided on the following topics:

  • Thrive App – helping students to work out how much water a garden really needs and to choose plants that are less reliant on watering.
  • Tips to use water efficiently
  • The water cycle
  • Water quality
  • Water treatment
  • Wastewater treatment and water recycling
  • Environmental sustainability
Free tours to water facilities (years 7-12):
  • Copperlode Dam (Lake Morris)
  • Freshwater Treatment Plant
  • Marlin Coast, Northern and Southern Wastewater Treatment Plants
  • Cairns Water Laboratory (recommended for years 11-12)

Note: Tours may need to be cancelled in extreme weather conditions

Free educational YouTube resources covering:


Water sponge people

Great Northern Clean Up

Every September Cairns Regional Council supports the Great Northern Clean Up (Northern Australia’s version of Clean up Australia Day) through community promotion and the collection of rubbish bags at pre-arranged pick up points. Support provided by Council includes:

  • Planning and Environment: provides a single point of contact for community and school enquiries and
    identification of pick-up points.
  • Infrastructure Services: a collection of rubbish at pick-up points.
  • Water and Waste: free entry to waste and recycling facilities.

Note: Council will also provide clean up resources (e.g. bags and gloves) for school clean-up events held at any time of year. For more information email

Sustainability grants

Phone 4044 3253 or contact via email

Community Sustainability Grant

Bring your project to life with a Community Sustainability Grant from Cairns Regional Council!

If you are part of a non-profit group operating in the Cairns local government area, you can apply for up to $5000 to deliver a project across a range of sustainability topics from energy and water efficiency through to food sovereignty, biodiversity conservation, and community education.

Nature-based Learning Grant

With sustainability being recognised as a cross-curriculum priority in the National Curriculum, the scope for innovative, holistic outdoor learning is greater than it ever has been. In the Cairns region, this scope is further enhanced by the educational opportunities presented by the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Schools in the Cairns local government area can apply for up to $2000 per year to help fund nature-based excursions to a range of locations including rainforest or reef, farms, community gardens, wildlife parks, environmental education centres and places of cultural heritage.

Tropical building design

Phone 4044 3253 or contact via email

Cool Homes: smart design for the tropics

Designing for the tropics is essential in our climate. If your home is not designed correctly, you run the risk of having a hot home that is expensive to keep cool, particularly over the long, hot and humid summer.

Cool Homes Guide

Showcasing environmentally sustainable design, crucial for emerging builders and architects in the region, whilst aligning with the cross-curriculum priority of sustainability. The guide can also assist students studying Graphic and those entering the Business Liaison Association’s Industrial Technology and Design (INTAD) Awards to design a tropical home. Contact the Cairns Regional Council Sustainability team to request a hard copy.

The Cool Homes Plan Analysis Tool

Essential for anyone building, buying or renovating in the tropics.  You can use this transparent overlay to assess the sustainability of your house plans. Print the overlay on tracing paper, or contact the Cairns Regional Council Sustainability team and request a transparent hard copy.

Cairns Style Guide

The Cairns Style Guide showcases the distinct and unique character of the region's built environment. It encourages the development industry to provide streetscapes, housing and building designs that retain and enhance this character and respond to our tropical environment, climate, local character, and community needs.

Cairns Style is a broad concept ranging from the overall pattern and rhythm of streets to the detail of window awnings and balustrades. Retaining and enhancing the distinct tropical style and character of Cairns will improve the region's aesthetics, amenity, and livability.

Last updated: 30 October 2017