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12 AUG 2022

Students recycle to fund outdoor learning spaces at Ocean Shores

At Ocean Shores Public School near Byron Bay, the P&C has launched a fundraising initiative with Return and Earn to redevelop an outdoor learning space for the children.

Previously a large tree with a stage built around it—the Learning Tree—fulfilled this function. Students would perform on the stage at fetes and other events, and children read under the tree every day. But as the tree got older it had to be removed for safety reasons.

Year 4 student Sophie Hurrell says she and her peers miss the Learning Tree.

“We want to create a nice outdoor space with more trees to replace it,” she said. “We would use it for eating our lunches and for outdoor learning in our classes.”

P&C member Rebecca McNaught said that after registering as a charity on the Return and Earn app a few months ago, the initiative has been gathering momentum and is receiving support from local businesses.

“We’re getting parents and families onboard, and we collect from the school canteen and from local cafes—Mrs Birdies Cafe and Yum Yum Tree cafe save containers for us,” she said.

“Kmart in Ocean Shores donated gift vouchers and we ran a competition for the students where if they demonstrated that they were using Return and Earn they went into the draw for one of the gift vouchers.”

Rebecca said the Return and Earn refunds have been particularly valuable to the school this year.

“It’s been a really tough year for fundraising, with so many things cancelled due to COVID restrictions. We’re hoping to raise up to $5,000 for the learning tree and Return and Earn will form an important part of this.”

It’s about more than just fundraising though. Felicity Henderson, Relieving Principal at the school explains that it ties into the sustainability ethos of the school, including the their science and environmental curriculums. It also shows students how they can turn rubbish into something worthwhile for the school.

“It’s a way to encourage recycling and help kids understand the importance of looking after the environment by taking personal responsibility for our rubbish,” she said.

To donate your container refund to Ocean Shores Public School, simply select the school under ‘charities ’in the Return and Earn app when using a Return and Earn machine.

Return and Earn is a partnership between the NSW Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway.