The school’s unspoilt rainforest location provides the ideal backdrop for the Environmental Education Centre – a first for a Sunshine Coast school.
Using the latest in sustainable materials and technology, the Centre’s main goal will be to promote student learning experiences. It will showcase the Coast’s rainforest environment by creating wet labs and ‘living’ classrooms in which students from Immanuel, University of Sunshine Coast (USC) and other Sunshine Coast schools can conduct field studies to learn about the region’s flora and fauna.
“With an increasing emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Science) in the Australian curriculum, coupled with the growing global awareness around environmental sustainability, the Centre will deepen student learning and emphasise the importance of stewardship over our environment,” says Principal Colin Minke.
“Over 550 square metres in size, the Centre will also offer a venue for professional learning in which external agencies such as USC and Queensland Parks and Wildlife can work with Immanuel students from both the Primary and Secondary Schools.
“The physical location (adjacent to the rainforest), will create an indoor/outdoor learning experience where the traditional classroom context mixes with real world experiences. There will also be opportunities to engage with local Indigenous people to map the history of the area,” says Mr Minke.
The design and construction of the building, which will commence later in the year, will use the latest in sustainable materials and technology including energy efficient lighting with smart controls; photovoltaic panels to power lighting and ceiling fans; louvres to provide natural cross ventilation; larger eaves to increase daylight throughout the year without extra, unwanted heat; solar panels, solar hot water and rainwater catchment tanks; and recyclable, waterproof materials for doors and joinery.
As a further move to support environmental sustainability across the Sunshine Coast, Immanuel has also teamed up with Coastline BMW to offer the College’s first corporate environmental award – the Coastline BMW and Kurz Family Sustainability Award.
“Immanuel has always emphasised environmental sustainability and with the support of Old Scholar Tristan Kurz (Class of 1998), the award will offer recurrent funding of $5,000 to assist students with environmentally sustainable projects and activities. The project should promote and encourage student participation as well as increase awareness of environmental issues for the benefit of this and future generations.”
The recipient of the inaugural award is Immanuel’s Eco Club, which plans to introduce a recycling scheme with a dedicated recycling shed to sort and recycle waste that is produced on campus.
“The students want to make Immanuel the leading school in sustainability on the Sunshine Coast and this is something I want to be a part of,” says Mr Kurz.
“I spent many happy years at Immanuel and I am glad that I can give back to the College in this way.”