Students dig deep in the name of sustainability

By Wendy Shaw

The need to care for God’s creation has prompted students and staff at Corpus Christi Catholic School at Bellerive to dig deep and get their hands dirty in the name of sustainability.

And while the students are cultivating fruit, flowers and vegetables, they are also learning about recycling, propagation, and the importance of caring for ‘our common home’, as Sustainability teacher Luciano (Luch) Brighella explained.

“It’s important for children to develop an understanding of sustainability and sustainable living practices,” he said.

“It’s important also for the children to develop an appreciation for the wonderful world God has created for us; learn the importance of caring for our planet – our common home; and to learn about practices that each and every one of us can adopt in our daily lives.”

The Stainability program involves all 500 students from Kinder to grade 6 and is new at the school on Hobart’s eastern shore in 2023, although there has been some vegetable growing in the past. It takes inspiration from Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on caring for our common home.

“One of Pope Francis’ over-arching priorities is that everyone has a responsibility to what God has created for us, our Earth, ‘Our Common Home’,” Mr Brighella said.

The response has been positive and encouraging, particularly in hands-on activities like gardening and growing plants and cooking produce grown in the school garden.

Corpus Christi students proudly showing off their Fruits for the Future gardens. Photo: Olivia Carney

Mr Brighella has worked for Catholic Education Tasmania for 40 years, the past 20 as a principal. He was the principal at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Geeveston for ten years until the end of 2022. He took up his part-time role at Corpus Christi as he ‘eases into retirement’.

He is also a member of the Corpus Christi Parish’s Laudato si’ Action Group. The group has monthly meetings, guest speakers, provides practical tips to the parish designed to encourage sustainable living, and organises special activities and prayer during Laudato si’ Week.

“I have been a firm believer that if everyone does a little then together we can make a big difference in looking after our common home, our planet,” Mr Brighella added.

“As an educator and leader, I have been in a privileged position to encourage students, staff and families to live more sustainably, and care for our common home.”

Corpus Christi received a Keep Australia Beautiful Tasmania Sustainable Schools grant to support sustainability projects.

John Paul II Catholic Primary School in Rokeby were also recipients of the grant, which was used to fund two vegetable gardens that students have been tending to.

Working with the Chef of their School Lunch Project, Andrea Comino, students had the opportunity to consume the fresh produce that was grown.

Students have learned how to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, and how healthy food can be prepared from fresh produce for recess and lunchtime.

Tags: Bellerive-Lindisfarne, News