Birds At School

We participated in BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count again this year.  This is the third year that students have joined thousands of other citizen scientists from all over Australia, conducting a 20-minute bird survey in their own ‘backyard’.  Once compiled, the surveys provide scientists with a snapshot of what is happening to the bird populations of different species throughout the country.

During the four-day survey of Mansfield Steiner School’s ‘Backyard’, the students recorded 24 different species, however the school’s current overall bird list now features over 60 species. With the ever-increasing number of indigenous plant species being planted in the grounds, the number of bird species at the school is predicted to grow as the plants mature to provide the right habitat for feeding and breeding.

We value the opportunity for students to observe protective parent birds building nests, gathering food and feeding their squawking young, as well as witnessing a few wobbly flights of the recently fledged.

Native Birds
The following is a full list of the different bird species observed within the school grounds: Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Australasian Grebe, Eurasian Coot, Masked Lapwing, Little Pied Cormorant, White-faced Heron, White-necked Heron, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Laughing Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Galah, Long-billed Corella, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian King-Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Satin Bowerbird, Superb Fairywren, Eastern Spinebill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, White-plumed Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Striated Thornbill, Weebill, Western Gerygone, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, Grey Shrikethrush, Golden Whistler, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Pied Currawong, Grey Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Leaden Flycatcher, Australian Raven, Little Raven, Welcome Swallow, Silvereye, Red-browed Finch

Introduced Birds
*Starling, *House Sparrow,*Common Blackbird, *Common Starling, *Common Myna, *Common Blackbird, *Rock Dove.



It was great to hear some positive news about recycling in Victoria recently.  One of the councils in Melbourne will be trialling a six-bin system: a bin each for glass, metals, paper, plastics, organics and landfill. Here at school we are also refining our waste streams, with the addition of a brown bin for cardboard, which will allow staff to recycle incoming packaging materials.

A while ago, we started to recycle the used batteries that we generate at school. One of the grandparents in our school community, Barbara Setchell, suggested that the school become a collection point for used batteries from our wider community. Barbara has offered to take the container of used batteries to the council offices when it is full. So just inside the office there will be a container in which you can drop your used small household batteries.
There are a number of other forms of waste that the Mansfield Shire Council is gathering – some can be dropped off free, whilst others have a fee associated with them. The council launched the revamped Resource Recovery Centre (RRC) on Monkey Gully Rd in July, and are managing it themselves rather than using a contractor. The RRC staff are really helpful in working out what can be recycled rather than go to landfill.  The Mansfield Shire Council website shows what the RRC accepts, including fencing wire, TVs, computers, printers, mobile phones, soft plastics, timber waste, electrical cables, engine oil and much more.
Open Day 2019 waste news – Our red landfill bin had about 80L of waste at the end of the day. Well done everyone for keeping this so low!


Each year our Class 6s participate in the regional Kids Teaching Kids forum in which they learn from and teach other Class 6 students from local primary schools.

This year the event is being held at the Botanical Gardens on September 10 and has the theme of ‘Working towards a sustainable Mansfield.’

We have two groups entered; one that will focus on solar power and the other that will focus on geothermal power. Over the past two weeks the groups have been doing research into these topics, designing a poster, creating a game and writing a quiz.

We were lucky enough to have Paul Matthews come in and talk with the class about solar energy and earlier on in the term Tim Berinyi taught us about renewable energies in general.

Hume Region Resource Smart School Award 2018

Mansfield Steiner School has been awarded the 2018 Best ResourceSmart School in the Hume Region. Mansfield Mayor, Harry Westendorp, presented the award on Friday at the school assembly. 

Throughout 2018 the students sorted their waste into a five-coloured bin system, harvested and processed cardboard for the worm farms, made compost, spread mulch, cared for the chickens and bees, planted indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses, planted and harvested vegetables, conducted litter audits, created energy switch off signs for lights and power points, joined in the Aussie Backyard Bird survey, searched for frogs, looked for water creatures, made paper bin liners, learned how to make eco-friendly Christmas wrapping and much more! Each class had a different job to do as well as all students having the opportunity to be part of the lunchtime sustainability club.

Sustainability In Our School

2019 is a year of many changes but one thing we want to remain consistent throughout the school and activities is the emphasis on sustainability. We want to avoid to tokenism, we want sustainability to permeate everything we do. We now have 96 solar panels on the roofs of buildings, the new buildings have double glazed windows, plenty of insulation and are north facing ensuring plenty of comfort and less reliance on resource use. The materials we use are natural materials of high quality and we try to minimise paper usage, stressing the use of reusable and recyclable materials. Any food scraps are fed to the chickens, the worms receive coffee grounds and shredded paper. We support two bee hives and the Biodynamic farming methods we use ensure our garden produces high quality, nutritious fruit and vegetables. The lunches prepared in our kitchen are made using as much produce from our gardens as possible.

As parents, you can support the school and the future of our planet by making the return to school as gentle on the Earth’s resources as possible. Here are some top tips from Sustainability Victoria that we have slightly amended.


Get the kids to make their own lunch and use containers suited to nude food which eliminates the need for plastic or aluminium foil wrapping. If you do need to wrap, reusable beeswax wraps may be used instead of plastic. Find out about how to make them online or buy them at our local health food shops. Consider buying a lunchbox that lasts for your child’s whole schooling journey. Water bottles can be frozen to keep lunches fresh in summer. Some people use a thermos as a year-round way to keep liquids (like drinks and yogurt which you can decant from a larger container) at a constant temperature. Encourage your children to use the school’s compost bins or bring home their scraps for yours.


Despite what they say, many kids have plenty of time on their hands. Teach them to make their own muesli bars and other snacks. Be patient. It’s a life skill.


Use the Love Food Hate Waste website to get great recipes to use last night’s leftovers in exciting ways for school (and work) lunches.


If you or your teenagers are in the habit of buying a cuppa before or after school, a ‘keep cup’ is a good investment.


Save money by digging out pens, pencils and other consumables from drawers, cupboards and bags rather than buying new ones. Many stationery makers have a range of notebooks made from recycled paper. Green Collect sells recycled stationery and other excess office supplies from businesses.


Our school doesn’t have a uniform but requires students to wear clothing without logos preferably made from natural fibre. Try to use recycled clothing, organise clothing swaps, buy from Op Shops or buy from ethical t-shirt manufacturers. Limit the amount of clothing your child has and buy a laundry marker to label your child’s clothing – helps with keeping a track of lost property.


Teachers can often bridge the gap between an instrument sitting unused on a bedroom shelf and a student. You can often get a better-quality instrument this way, rather than paying more for new.


Walking or riding to school is a great way to stay fit. It saves fuel, reduces vehicle pollution and traffic jams at the school gate. Otherwise park a short distance from the school and walk with the kids and use it as an opportunity to teach road rules. Catching the bus or carpooling is often an option, too.


Buying a desk, bookcase or filing cabinet? Second-hand office furniture shops often have very modern goods at a much better price than new and they will last.


Our school is a Resource Smart School. We encourage individuals, families and the entire school community to work together and act to preserve the planet.

We are making a very determined effort to minimise our waste and to make all students respectful of their own belongings and the limited resources of the world.