Saturday, December 13, 2008

Changing Times

As you may have heard there have been some changes in the Education Department that will affect the way that Learning for Sustainability will take place in the NT. The new structure of the department means that there will not be a designated officer in this position. Learning for Sustainability is however still high on the agenda and support for schools and external agencies will continue to be provided through a broad range of strategies

The main contact with regard to all Learning for Sustainability initiatives in Central Australia will be Karen Loto
phone:- (08) 8951 7017

Teachers wanting support with curriculum planning, writing and implementing their Sustainability Education Management Plan (SEMP) or planning for learning at the Alice Springs Desert Park can contact Karen.

There will also still be support for schools involved in all aspects of the Sustainable Schools Initiative, including the Energy Smart Schools, Water Wise Schools, Alice Solar Schools, Re-thinking Waste in Schools, Schools Environmental Tracking System (SETS) and Creating Arid Zone Gardens. Karen will be able to tell you who to contact for each of these.

The Alice Springs Desert Park will remain free to all NT schools and the staff there will be happy to support you with logistical planning for your visit.

For professionals outside of education developing resources for schools there is now a Materials Development team in place. The Education Department will also continue to provide Professional Learning opportunities for non teachers that find themselves running activities and learning experiences for kids. Again contact Karen Loto for more information.

As for me, I am heading overseas for a while to study Strategies for Creative Social Change at Schumacher College and also to learn more about Transition Towns and the Transition Culture.

As I have become accustomed to using this blog as archive of inspiring resources and ideas I have set up my own Learning for Sustainability blog. This has really been set up for my own use, a place to keep all the interesting things I find and experience, but you may find some of it interesting too. There is a permanent link to Emma's New Blog in the "Blogs You Might Like" section.

And finally...


Thanks to everyone that I have had the pleasure to work with over the last four and a half years. It really has been an amazing experience, I have thoroughly loved my work in this position.

Emma Bliss

Contact Emma

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nuclear Waste Dump Senate Inquiry

The Federal Government is conducting a Senate Inquiry into the future of the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act (CRWMA).
This undemocratic piece of legislation allows a federal nuclear waste dump to be forced on the Territory.
Despite a clear election promise from the ALP to repeal this act, almost a year later, this has not been followed through.
Four areas are still under assessment due to the CRWMA - Mt Everard, Fishers Ridge, Harts Range and Muckaty.

Public hearings start in Alice Springs on Monday November 17.
We need a strong turnout from the local community to show there is continued opposition to this proposal.
Tell the federal government - Don't dump on the Territory!

Monday November 17
12pm, Crowne Plaza Lawns
Speakers include people from affected areas and local organisations.

Public hearing times:
Monday November 17, 1pm - 5pm
Tuesday November 18, 8am - 11am
Crowne Plaza Ballroom AB
Everyone is welcome to attend.

Please pass this message on to all of your family, friends and networks.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Book by Janis Birkeland
A heralding work of how a positive and innovative design agenda for the built environment, underlined by an uncompromising valuation of ecology and nature's services, can mobilize our efforts in becoming native to the planet. This is a wonderful book that should be on the desk of every architect and planner. It shows how our decisions about the built environment can be a positive contribution to shaping a sustainable future.


Your Home is a suite of consumer and technical guide materials and tools developed to encourage the design, construction or renovation of homes to be comfortable, healthy and more environmentally sustainable.
The Your Home Technical Manual gives you the information you need to design and build a more comfortable home that is less expensive to run while more environmentally friendly. Written by designers and builders, for designers and builders, it is the definitive tool for creating a home that is enjoyable to live in, cost effective and environmentally sensitive.
The Technical Manual contains over 60 individual fact sheets full of environmentally sustainable solutions for designing and building your home.

Inquiry based learning for sustainability

An inquiry-based learning approach to sustainability.
The sustainability focused units contained in this series encourage students to become actively involved in their world. Based on problem-based and inquiry-based learning pedagogy, the units of work are student-focused, promote active and deep learning, and motivate students to want to learn more about, and help them develop a sense of moral ownership for the natural environment.
Each unit contains detailed teacher information on planning and implementing the unit of work, and supporting reproducible student worksheets. It is hoped that by presenting this instructional model to teachers in a clear and sequenced way, they will go on to plan and build further problem-based and inquiry-based units of work with a sustainability focus.


NEiTA (National Excellence in Teaching Awards) and the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) have announced the names of the 60 Australian teachers to receive recognition through NEiTA’s inaugural 2008 ASG Inspirational Teacher State and Territory Awards.
The recognised inspirational teachers work across the spectrum of education sectors from early childhood to secondary schooling, teaching students with varied learning needs, and in specialised subject areas.


Nominations close 1 Dec 08

UNEP invites nominations from individuals who have made a significant contribution globally, regionally and beyond, to the protection and sustainable management of the environment and natural resources. They may be Presidents, politicians, economists, scientists or philosophers or perhaps musicians, artists, actors, religious or civic figures operating on the global, national or local stage. They may be community leaders, business leaders or youth leaders who are triggering a transformation aimed at bringing forward tomorrow's world today by turning their societies into beacons of fundamental and sustainable change. Whomever and wherever they are UNEP wants to know and looks forward to award the brightest and the best as a 2009 Champion of the Earth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Join Kath & Kim in the fight for our natural Aussie icons

What do a footballer, a cook and two foxy ladies from Fountain Lakes have in common? All are speaking out for Australia’s iconic places at risk of disappearing unless Australia provides stronger action on climate change over coming months.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has launched a new report and website ‘Who on Earth Cares about our special Australian places?’ highlighting ten of Australia’s top natural icons at serious risk from climate change.

Visit to find out which of our favourite places are threatened from climate change, and send a postcard to our leaders from your special place calling from greater leadership and stronger action to save these icons while we still have the chance.

You’ll be in good company – many of Australia’s best known faces from stage, screen and stadium are also speaking out for their favourite Australian places, from our world-class wine regions and Kakadu’s wetlands to the Great Barrier Reef and our beaches.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Re-Think : Review : Reflect : Renew

A small group of Central Australian teachers came together today to review and reflect upon their experiences with the Re-Thinking Waste in Schools Challenge of 2008

During 2008 the teachers lead their schools though a broad range of initiatives including reducing water use, recycling, composting, worm farming, growing food, the Wearable Arts exhibition, a sustainability musical and much much more.

You can read individual school stories on the Re-Thinking Waste Wikispace (Bradshaw, Braitling, Living Waters)

After this period of reflection, teachers began to think about their plans for next year. Sam Latz from Alice Solar City and Roger Chapman from Water Wise Schools. Both Bradshaw and Braitling will be part of the Energy Smart Schools Program next year, with targets to reduce their energy consumption.

All schools involved in the Re-Thinking Waste Challenge in the NT are part of the AuSSI-NT, a group of schools working to become more sustainable - part of the national Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative

If you are interested to find out more about becoming an NT Sustainable School contact the project officer on 8951 8718

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Central Australian Frog Watch

Parks and Wildlife NT are offering a free slide show in the creek at Simpsons Gap to celebrate the Year of the Frog. The slideshow will be followed by a guided spotlighting tour to view the astonishing amphibians of desert.

The event will run for 3 nights, on the 9th, 11th and 15th Nov from 7-9pm.
Bring your own chair or rug and wear appropriate clothing.

Bookings are ESSENTIAL
Call Michael Barritt on 89518247 or email him at to secure your place.

KWATYE Exhibition Opening - Olive Pink Botanic Garden

Kwatye is the Arrernte word for water or rain and is the theme of an exhibition of large works on canvas.

Irrkerlantye Artists
have painted a series of works telling a wide range of stories about water. The artists celebrate soakages and storms, rockholes, rivers and rainbows.

The exhibition opens at Olive Pink Botanic Garden on Friday 7th November and 5.30 pm and runs through to 23rd Nov.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Garnaut Climate Change Review

The Garnaut Climate Change Review presented its Final Report to the Prime Minister of Australia and the eight states and territories on 30 September 2008.

The Review was an independent study conducted by economist Professor Ross Garnaut, commissioned by Australia's Commonwealth, state and territory governments in 2007.

Although the Review is now complete, the Garnaut Climate Change Review web site will be available as an ongoing resource where you will find all materials released by the Review, including reports, papers and transcripts from public addresses. Submissions to the Review are also available.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grants for Handing Down Knowledge

The Indigenous Ecological Knowledge Program (IEK) now has funding available for projects that support younger people learning about how to look after country properly from Elders and other knowledge holders.

Grants are available until late 2009.

The themes and purpose of the project must clearly be:

* time spent in the presence of senior knowledge holders
* learning and observing traditional custodianship and respect for the land
* nurturing an enthusiasm for cultural and natural resource management practice in the younger generation while undertaking relevant on-country activities
* developing an understanding of the complex traditional relationships between land and the people, providing a clearer understanding of traditional land management

This program services people living in the Central Land Council areas.

Contact Project officer, Nikki Brannigan: Tel: (08) 8950 5005

Central Land Council
Handing Down Knowledge Program
Supported by funding provided by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Native Plant Sale

Greening Australia' Native Plant Sale is taking place on Saturday 11th October 9am-12noon.

The sale takes place at the GA nursery which is located on the Charles Darwin University Campus - enter via entrance 2 on Grevillea Drive.

The nursery is also open for sales every Thursday, 9am-4pm.

For more info call 8953 2882

Monday, September 22, 2008

On Borrowed Time Learning Resource

The On Borrowed Time Learning Resource is a selection of classroom resources designed to explore key biodiversity issues. The resource includes four inquiry-based teaching and learning units and two interactives. This resource can be used in conjunction with, or separately from, the book On Borrowed Time.

You can register to receive a copy of the Learning Resource for your school by visiting