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?  See below for information on how Council supports schools to implement sustainability education programs and initiatives, or visit our Sustainability web pages for more.

Sustainability is a cross-curriculum priority in 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.



To borrow, order or find out more, contact

  • Solar Tool Kit: Schools can borrow this portable solar panel briefcase to help students learn about renewable energy. The kit features a fan, radio, fluorescent lamp, buzzer and energy monitor.
  • Reef Stencils: Made from old street signs, these can be used for chalk art or reverse graffiti (pressure cleaning) to encourage responsible litter disposal. The stencils include messages such as ‘bin your butts’ and ‘only rain down this drain’. The stencils help badge your school drains and gutters with turtle and fish stencils to create a visual connection between the land and the sea.
  • Cool Homes Guide: Assists students to learn about 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.

School Programs and Networks

  • Reef Guardian Schools: This Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority program fosters awareness, understanding and appreciation for the Reef and its connected ecosystems. It helps connect students with community projects and has a suite of resources available.
  • Australian Association for Environmental Education: Australia's peak professional body for Environmental Educators, with resources, professional development and networking opportunities available.
  • Sustainable Schools Network: Provides opportunities for networking between students, business managers and teachers to embed sustainability in schools.

Key Resources


Clean Ups

A community Clean Up is a great way to bring your community together for a cause that boosts community pride and creates a litter-free environment.


There are three types of Clean Ups held in the region:

Great Northern Clean Up

Held every September, the Great Northern Clean Up is timed just before the wet season to reduce the risk of litter entering our marine environment. Council coordinates sites across Cairns, and schools, business and community groups can register their own site or join an existing one.   Visit our Great Northern Clean Up web page to find out how to join a crew near you!

Clean Up Australia Day

This national event is held in March across Australia.  Visit the Clean Up Australia Day website for details and sites.

Everyday Clean Ups

Can't wait for one of the annual Clean Ups? You can hold a community Clean Up any time of year, just register your site with Clean Up Australia and contact Council to request rubbish collection 2 weeks ahead of the event.


Cairns Regional Council and Clean Up Australia support community Clean Ups. Simply:

  • Contact Council's sustainability team for local support, including promotion of your Clean Up, extra equipment and to arrange rubbish collection.
  • Register your site and receive planning checklists and volunteer insurance with Clean Up Australia.

Advocacy and Education

Collecting data on what you pick up at a Clean Up can contribute to research and education for improved litter management - find out how from the Tangaroa Blue Australian Marine Debris Database.

To learn about the impacts of litter on our marine environment, head to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park website.

Last updated: 16 June 2020