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

Learn more about water and waste and how it's managed here in Cairns in a fun, interactive way.

Council offers exciting presentations and engaging activities to all schools within the Cairns region.

Re-think Waste: short film competition 2018

Calling all Cairns students – it’s time to get creative about re-thinking waste!  Here’s your chance to showcase your amazing filmmaking talents to tell as story about how a waste problem became a solution. You could win a class tour at the Cairns Aquarium or a class trip to Marine World Pontoon.

Entry is open to all primary and secondary students within the Cairns Regional Council area. The competition is open until 4pm on 20 September 2018.

Presentations and tours

Choose from a range of presentations and tours to suit your needs - from excursions to the waste Re-Discovery Centre to a visit from the soon to be released Water Engagement & Training  (Wet) Van to your school - all for FREE.

Our educational services aim to reinforce Council's philosophy that 'there's no place like our place - let's keep it that way'.

You can view and book all Water and Waste education services at Council's booking dashboard, below.

Book a Water and Waste presentation or tour


WaterWhys Cairns provides schools with exciting resources enabling teachers to deliver engaging, meaningful in-school learning experiences. With more resources being added regularly, there are lots of fun, hands-on, interactive lesson plans and activities that are linked to the Australian Curriculum as well as Council's unique local water campaign and initiatives. Activities include topics such as monitoring rainfall in experiments to investigating Cairns water treatment and supply.

To add value to your school's Waste Education program, check out our Waste Activity Sheets in the 'For Download' section below.

Council’s Water YouTube and Waste YouTube channels provide you with further information on what happens to Water and Waste here in Cairns

Council also offers a FREE recycling service to all schools within the Cairns region. If your school does not have recycling, please contact Council on 1300 69 22 47.

Please refer to For Download below for more resources

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.

Great Northern Clean Up

This year Council is hosting several community Clean-Ups across the city during September:

These community clean-ups will be coordinated by Council staff to help better target litter hotspots and improve the effectiveness of the clean-ups through better site coordination, promotion and collection of data.

To register, simply select your preferred Clean-up below and follow the Facebook link!

PLUS post your clean up pictures to the ECOevents Cairns Facebook for your chance to win a trip for two to the Great Barrier Reef. Terms and & Conditions Apply.

Luisa Street Park, Collinson Creek
Saturday 1st Sept
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

Mount Sheridan
(Forest Gardens - Sawpit Gully Reserve, Homestead Park, Forest Gardens Park or Kite Close Park)
Saturday 22nd or Sunday 23rd September
Start Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

White Rock
Bak Park
Saturday 22nd Sept
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

Pumeri Park
Saturday 15th September
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

Moody Street to McCormack St (Creek/Drain)
Sunday 2nd Sept
Time: 7:30am – 11:30am

Yellow Arrow trailhead / carpark
Saturday, 8 September
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

Goomboora Park
Sunday 16th September
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

Redlynch Village Green, Harvey Road or Early Settler Park
Sunday 9th Sept
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

Edge Hill
Fresh water creek 5km walking track.
16th September
Time: 7:00am - 11:00am

A littered area preferably around Smithfield Village/Trinity Park/Yorkeys Knob
Saturday 1st Sept
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

Old Barron Bridge
Sat 8th Sept
Start Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

Flexible with locations - willing to help where needed.
Sat 8th Sept
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am
Are we using the same as Sivan?

Kewarra Beach
Southern end of beach near the lifesavers hut
Sun 30 Sept
Time: 7:30am - 11:30am

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