Smart schools

Children learn best to care for the environment through experience. We help schools, pre-schools and day care centres through a range of programs and rebates. 

Register now for our bi-monthly Smart Schools enews and receive the latest on sustainability education, rebates and more.

If you have questions or suggestions, please email the Sustainability team.

Wild with Words poetry competition

9 October - 17 November

Primary school students (Years 1-6) across Ku-ring-gai are invited to submit words and illustrations about a favourite animal, plant, tree or special place in nature, sharing their love and respect for the green heart of Sydney in this poetry competition.

More information

Why Waste it? Workshops

Collect plastics with students and see them transformed into rulers as part of a FREE workshop.

Find out more


Turning Trash into tools

Council has purchased a special plastics mould and is working with industrial designers/educators Defy Design to turn waste plastic collected by students, into rulers for classrooms.

Lindfield East and West Pymble Public Schools are the first to partner with Council, showing kids real-life examples of how a circular economy could work in practice. Council manages the whole process and delivers a day-long worth of workshops to students as part of the initiative.

This forms part of our Net Zero Ku-ring-gai program, aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2040.

We are keen to hear from other local schools who might be interested in using the mould and hosting a free workshop at their school. Contact our Sustainability Education Officer at

Read the media release from the first workshop.

Wildlife habitat

How to build or purchase a nest box for your school.

Find out more

We are working with a small number of schools to install nest boxes to house possums, birds and other hollow-dwelling species. We are in the process of developing some education materials and games around the theme of wildlife habitat so stay-tuned.

If you already have a nest-box at your school or want to build your own, visit Backyard Buddies and Birdlife Australia for some great resources.

Find more information about how we monitor fauna and who lives in our nest boxes on our Nest Box page.

Waste & recycling

Explore options for basic recycling through to reuse, repair and Return & Earn bins.

Find out more

Guidance is provided through the NSW Government website and Planet Ark offers their Schools Recycle Right Guide.

Council support

  • FREE Enviromentors workshops from Keep Australia Beautiful NSW
  • Cool Australia - extensive range of online teaching resources
  • Uniform recycling program onsite at schools

Find out more about these programs.

Schools Recycling Week

Planet Ark has some great tools to start your recycling or organic waste system.

Sustainable Schools Toolkit  

Uniform Exchange

An online marketplace for second hand school uniforms, musical instruments, sports gear, textbooks and more. Visit here.

Bye Bye Plastic

Our Sustainable living pages offer a range of advice on how to inspire your school and students to reduce their plastic use.

Waste-free lunchboxes

Planet Ark Waste-free Lunch Box Challenge

Teacher resources

Sustainable Schools NSW guides and teacher resources.

Grants & rebates

Support is provided for water tanks and gardens and apply for a levy grant for bigger projects.

Find out more

Community rebates

These are available for Ku-ring-gai school/pre-school, day care and community education centres. Make improvements to reduce your bills, manage your waste and educate the community. 

  • Solar my School free, expert support provided by Council. They will assess solar needs, cost estimates/bill savings and help with sourcing funding.
  • Water Smart Rebates establish a water-sensitive garden (to manage stormwater run-off) and install rain water tanks or green roofs.
  • Compost Revolution composting and worm-farming products at a highly discounted rate.

Grants and competitions


Building gardens

Creating native or edible gardens for your school community.

Find out more

Create edible and native gardens with bees, composting and worm farming. Let the kids get their hands dirty and build your own veggie or flower garden. Attract native wildlife and pollinators and extend their learning in the classroom.

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation

Find inspiration, information, professional learning and support for educational institutions.

Visit Kitchen Garden Foundation to find the tools to get your school's kitchen garden growing.

Composting & worm farming

Access discounted bins and farms, free workshops and tips to get started.

Find out more

Visit Ku-ring-gai composting and worm farming to order a discounted compost or worm farm today.

Composting is an easy, fun and an important way of reducing the volume of materials going to landfill, cutting down on greenhouse gases and returning nutrients back into the soil. Ku-ring-gai schools receive a 25% discount and free delivery of a compost bin or worm farm (including worms) by joining the Compost Revolution program.

Fact sheets 

Kimbriki House & Garden have the answers to all your questions with a range of information on composting, worms, no dig garden beds, starting an edible garden and lots more. FREE for you to download now. They also run a range of workshops for schools and residents at their site in Terrey Hills.

Native Bees

Apply for a native beehive or bee hotel with free plants and education workshops.

Find out more

Bees are essential members of our ecological communities and their communities are under threat worldwide. These hardworking insects pollinate our gardens and food crops. Australia has over 1,500 species of native bee, and the Sydney region is home to about 200 species.

In Ku-ring-gai, the WildThings Native Bee program has been hugely successful with over 1000 hives distributed to residents. The bees are sting-less and therefore a perfect addition to your garden especially for children to learn about the bee life cycle and pollination.

There are two ways to get a hive:

  1. Apply through the annual Environmental Levy Grants in April and if successful receive a hive at no cost; or
  2. Purchase a hive at any time for a reduced rate from Ku-ring-gai Council - stocks allowing.

Citizen Science

Explore environmental days through the year and help track our wildlife.

Find out more

Citizen Science in basic terms, is when ordinary people study the plants and animals around them and send in the data they collect to scientists to help with research. Anyone can do citizen science! We hope it fosters a long term curiosity and appreciation of our natural areas in Ku-ring-gai.

Discover FREE apps and a list of Environmental Days to get involved in 

Solar my School

The 2022/23 round is now closed, however schools wanting to power their school with free energy may register their interest to be considered for the next round.

Register Now

Speaking 4 the Planet online competition 2023

Ku-ring-gai Council has funded participation for all high schools in Ku-ring-gai to participate in the 2023 national Speaking 4 the Planet competition.

Program theme

'Edge of the Future: Sustainable Cities and Communities - Reaching Net Zero Together'

What could we do to support our communities to reduce their energy, waste and transport emissions for a healthier, more liveable city?

All student entries need to focus on this topic, linking their thinking about the future to the theme above.

What can I submit? Students can present their views on the topic through one of these media:

  • Speaking
  • Visual Arts
  • Writing
  • Performance Poetry.


    Students will submit their entries through an online portal that will be provided on the Speaking 4 the Planet website.


    A support package is available with:

  • Information about the competition and how to submit
  • Information about the topic and links to various resources to support student research
  • Judging criteria


For more information please contact the Sustainability Engagement Officer via email or phone 9424 0172.

Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden

Expert rangers offering incursions/excursions and student nature programs.

Find out more

The Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden St Ives is set across 123 hectares of pristine untouched bushland. It offers a range of incursions/excursions for early childhood through to all stages of primary schools for geography, science and technology. programs are run by our experienced environmental education rangers. All our programs are full day (4hrs) however can be adapted to a half day (2.5hrs).Why Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden?

Our rangers can even visit your school and deliver a wildlife/reptile encounter!

Explore our programs now 

Teacher resources

Classroom learning modules, movies, online games and more.

Find out more

One of the best ways to stay informed and find out about great ideas to grow your programs, is to talk to like-minded people in your community. 

Join a local network

The following bring like-minded teachers and educators together around sustainability:

Network for Environment & Sustainability Teachers Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai (NEST) – Teachers from across Sydney are welcome to join. 

Sustainable Schools



Envirotube is Council's own environment, sustainability and wildlife channel. 

Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre has it's own educational Youtube Channel.


Sustainability in Schools helps you build a case for sustainability in your school. 

Cool Australia has over 12,000 free lessons.

NSW Government provides a range of lesson plans and resources.

Indigenous Australia

Ku-ring-gai Aboriginal Heritage explores our Indigenous history and how you can get students actively involved.

NSW Government 

Indigenous Weather Knowledge

Share the knowledge passed down through countless generations by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with your children. Explore our local D’harawal Country and language with the Indigenous Weather Knowledge Calendar. It shares the behavior of native wildlife and plants in different seasons and how this guides the eating and living habits of local people.


The Biodiversity Conservation Trust website is improving the understanding, appreciation and sharing of knowledge when it comes to how to protect our vulnerable plants and animal species. They have resources for primary and secondary schools. Including maps, colouring-in, facts sheets, online games and videos to use in the classroom.

Nature play

Nature play supports teachers and parents to get children outdoors and observe nature at work. 

Bush excursions

Schools excursions at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden provide curriculum-based bushwalks, workshops and nature investigation for students of all ages.

Passionate about experiential learning, the rangers are keen to encourage children to discover and investigate the bush around them.

There are half and full day programs to support teachers at all stages.

Citizen Science

Get your class or community group involved in helping us spot and record our many wonderful critters.


Host a bag-making workshop

Boomerang Bags is a passionate group powered by volunteers, encouraging others to replace plastic bags with reusables.

They host regular sewing bees to make cloth bags out of recycled fabrics.

Their bags are distributed to various supermarkets and shopping centres for use across Ku-ring-gai.

To host a bag workshop at your school or community group email


Twig Boat

All you need is:

  • Long pieces of tough grass– you may need to experiment with different types
  • A selection of twigs of a similar size
  • A few fallen flowers
  • A large leaf
  1. Lay out your grass vertically underneath your twigs (6-8) which are laid horizontally together on top.
  2. Tightly wrap your grass around the twigs – this may take a few attempts. Try to keep your twigs flat and tight, as together as possible.
  3. Next, take one extra twig and slot it into the bottom of your boat to become your mast.
  4. Thread the large leaf gently by poking the mast through it in two places – this will make the sail.
  5. Add a few fallen tiny flowers for decoration and that is it
  6. Set it afloat in a paddling pool, bathtub, stream, lake, or local waterway. 


Leaf rubbing

Grab some crayons or pencils, paper and a hard surface like a clipboard and you are good to go. Head outside and collect leaves of differing sizes. Come together with your students and place the leaf upside down on the clipboard with the paper on top. Draw gently over the top of the leaf, pressing onto the veins of the leaf especially. Explain the role of leaves and how the veins draw nutrients to the plant. Display in your classroom, or create bookmarks and other items.

Red Toadlet

Invite younger students to create their own native animal using origami techniques. Instructions and print out for download below.

Origami folding instructions Red Toadlet kids activity(PDF, 372KB)

Red Toadlet print on A3 paper kids activity(PDF, 340KB)

Grass Heads & Boot Pots

Gardening Australia shows us how to create quirky pots out of old boots and a 'Grass Head'.

Recycled art

Ask students to bring in bottles, boxes, bottle tops and other items to make their own ‘artworks’.

Nature bingo

Head outside into the playground or local park and give each student a nature bingo card (create your own or google and print free online).

Who can spot all of the things on their card? Choose a tall tree, a seed pod, a bush turkey and a ladybird to get your children learning about the world around them and the other wildlife and plants that live there.


Create a mini-greenhouse

Instructions here. Use recycled plastic boxes, bottles or egg cartons to grow your own seedlings. 

Bee, Ladybird or Butterfly Hotel

Create a home for your beneficial bugs and insects. A beautiful timber creation for the garden.

Make your own recycled paper

Instructions here. Recycle paper scraps, using them to create colorful handmade paper.

Annual Environment Days

Tailor your activities to specific events through the year:


World Wetlands Day


International Day of Women and Girls in Science


World Wildlife Day


Kids Schools Clean Up Day


Clean Up Australia Day


International Women's Day


International Day of Forests


World Water Day


Earth Hour


Earth Day


World Migratory Bird Day


National Volunteer Week


World Environment Day


World Oceans Day


National Reconciliation Week


Plastic Free July


National Tree Day


Threatened Species Day


National Organic Week (Composting)


International Disaster Reduction Day


Bird Week - Aussie Backyard Bird Count


National Water Week


Australian Pollinator Week


National Recycling Week