Being sustainable is an important part of the Howqua program. Students and staff work together every day to reduce waste, increase awareness of behaving differently and to build a community that leaves a positive impact on the environment.

Lauriston's Howqua campus achieved a five-star rating for sustainability in 2016. This status wasn't easy to achieve and took the school six years to ensure all processes were in place. This is a significant achievement as the Howqua campus is one of only 25 other schools in Victoria to earn this rating.

Each year the campus builds on its sustainability credentials and often the sustainability co-ordinator consults with the students to determine their interests and where they want to focus their attention.

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Much of the work students and staff do with the local community is focused on sustainability. For two years, students have been involved in the Regent Honeyeater Project, a bird on the verge of extinction in box-ironbark forests. Students travel to the local region to assist property owners in planting tree species that will create new habitats for the Regent Honeyeater and improve biodiversity. Additionally, during the Community Service program, students discussed the principles of sustainability and what we are doing at Howqua on the local radio. 

Student-driven environmental activities are embedded into the everyday life of Howqua. Greenies is a co-curricular activity available to all students, with the group meeting on a weekly basis. Typical tasks include educating the campus about the principles of sustainability to growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing vegetables grown in the greenhouse. 

Howqua Projects is an elective class held fortnightly where students carry out a range of activities around the campus that includes working in the greenhouse and maintaining the composting system. The experiential nature of the Howqua program and its proximity to the bush enables us to model the cultural and behavioural changes that are required to fulfil our sustainability targets. Students are required to take responsibility for their actions in their houses and are held to account for them. Students also see and study the negative impact of human activities on the environment in their academic classes. 

Sustainability became one of the Australian Curriculum (AusVELS) cross-curriculum priorities in 2013. One of the advantages of learning about sustainability is that it shows students that they are a part of a wider world and that their actions have consequences on others. At Howqua, there are many rich learning opportunities about sustainability included in the curriculum. In Environmental Science, the carbon footprint assignment requires students to analyse their carbon dioxide emissions and make an action plan to reduce it further. Students also undertake a biodiversity audit to investigate flora and fauna around campus to monitor for any changes that may be due to climate change. These rich learning opportunities teach students that the principles of sustainability are not only good for the planet, but it also empowers them with the knowledge that they can be agents of change on a global level.

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