Sustainability Byron Community College


Inspiration, Action, Innovation, Connection

The college is committed to embedding sustainability principles across the college activities. We are signatories to the international Talloires declaration on campus sustainability. We have won awards for our innovative and holistic approach to sustainability.

We Aim To

  • Improve eco literacy so people can understand and critically engage with the issues at work and at home
  • Encourage people to actively participate in effective action
  • Give adults real practical skills and motivation to lower their carbon footprints
  • To improve local food security through up skilling people in local organic food growing
  • Our education is based on the Principles of Education for Sustainability

Building & Operations

  • In 2010 the College opened the retrofitted Mullumbimby Campus, which recycled an old energy depot building. The passive solar design of our main campus building saves energy and water and provides a very pleasant learning space for our students.
  • We have solar hot water and a 30kw grid interactive photovoltaic system, and a small herb tea and fruit garden. We have planting raised beds in the courtyard with natives and edibles.
  • We also use outdoor teaching spaces including inspiring sustainable houses and gardens, some on intentional communities.
  • Watch the video here about the College and our energy efficiency projects.

Encouraging Sustainable Behaviours

  • We have an extensive sustainability policy and encourage sustainable behaviours through orientation, signage and class discussions.
  • We run courses in partnership with the Mullumbimby Community Garden and our students undertake projects at the garden
  • We receive some sponsorship of our Sustainability courses by Mullumbimby Farmers Market
  • We are currently developing the courtyard with a sustainable sculpture development project

Local Learning, Regional Impact, Global Significance

  • We have a wide range of sustainability oriented courses from short taster workshops to longer courses. This includes hands on education in energy efficiency, food growing, composting, tours of sustainable communities and houses, chemical free bush regeneration, energy efficient house design and many other topics. All teachers and facilitators are passionate and committed sustainability practitioners themselves. The program changes from term to term so keep checking to see whats on offer by clicking here
  • Training and Assessment: We have also run accredited training in integrating sustainability into Vocational Education & Training (TAESUS501A and 502) and a range of industry specific skill sets such as waste management for builders (CPCCBC402A), energy efficient design for designers and builders (CPCCSV5013A), sustainable horticulture units and others as demand and funding becomes available
  • In 2012 and 2013 we provided a TAE sustainability skill sets throughout NSW and ACT as part of national consortium 2012 -2013 for 240 participants
  • Permaculture Certificate III or Certificate IV: Our accredited Permaculture program provides Certificate III & IV level qualifications. Students are undertaking practical projects in backyards, community gardens, schools, farms and other community initiatives
  • We have recently added the Permaculture Design Course to our list, for more information on this click here
  • In 2014 & 2015 we ran a government funded Permablitz skill sets for young job seekers which were a great success
  • We embed sustainability learning into our VET programs and provide professional development in sustainability skills for our tutors
  • We run webinars for adult educators throughout the country
    • A series of 4 sessions called “Greening up your centre” can be found on the Adult Learning Australia Web site:
      1. Webinar 1: Greening up your centre
      2. Webinar 2: Greening your operations and infrastructure
      3. Webinar 3: Greening your non-accredited course programming and marketing
      4. Webinar 4: Greening your partnerships projects advocacy and networks
    • In 2014 we ran webinars on Education for Sustainability (EfS) for waste and water educators around Australia
  • We provide professional development in a range of sustainability topics such as Understanding Education for Sustainability. If you want training contact us to discuss your needs


We undertake research and community outreach projects to foster the skills, knowledge and motivation for sustainable living and working

  • 2013: The Sustainability for Educators book and e book was published in 2013 with support from Skills for the Carbon Challenge Project of the federal Department of Innovation
  • Read a review of the book in the ALA Quest magazine here.
  • 2013-2015: The Energy Efficiency Information project 2013-2015.We were involved in writing 19 fact sheets on energy efficiency and participating in webinars. We are partners with 3 other organisations based in Victoria to stimulate energy efficiency in community centres and adult learning facilities around Australia. The project is called Green House around the Corner
  • 2012: Sustainable College Kit website: We have also been part of an NSW intercollegiate project team that developed the Sustainable College Kit hosted on the Community Colleges Australia website
  • 2010: We developed and piloted a professional development resource for trainers called Sustainability and Energy Efficiency in Retail Training which is available online. This resource is very relevant to other training packages
  • 2010: Eden at home – Teaching Backyard food growing: In 2009 the College undertook a project for the NSW Department of Health to produce a teaching backyard gardening teacher’s resource kit. This guide and CD rom ‘Eden at Home –Growing Backyard Food’ is available from the college. You can download an order form here or ring the college
  • 2009: We were funded as part of the NSW Governments Green skills initiative to research incorporating Sustainability within the Retail and Horticulture training packages. The 200 page research report was called Green Thumbs and Green Goods


1. Get Growing…Enjoy Eating Local Food project 2011

To promote local sustainable food growing we ran 40 workshops and demonstrations at public events around the region from Grafton to Tweed Heads and inland to Bonalbo. Over 500 people have participated in these events. The workshops were on topics such as Getting going with organic growing , Food growing for renters, Compost making, Introduction to permaculture, Farm to Fork, Using and preserving seasonal gluts. Some of the courses were held in partnership with other community colleges and community gardens in the region. It involved a team of 13 passionate tutors. This was part of the Northern Rivers Foodlinks Project – a collaborative project between 7 local governments in the region with funding from the NSW Environment Trust Fund. We were contracted to provide the community training component.

2. Sustain Northern Rivers Collaboration – Energy & Food working groups

We are members of a regional collaboration to coordinate action on climate change and building community resilience initiatives see Sustain Northern Rivers and work closely with our local government (Byron Shire Council) sustainability programs. Their fact sheets on sustainable living can be collected from our office or click here.

3. We participate in the Northern Rivers Environmental Educators

4. Our permaculture tutors and students are involved in a wide range of community building projects

Sustainability for Educators:

A Toolkit of Learning Activities and Resources

Authors: Katrina Shields and Lisa Hoggard
ISBN: 978-0-9923127-1-8

$39.95 per copy

If you would like to purchase a copy please call us on 02 6684 3374 or email us at

TAFE SAP Vendor Number: 4102597

If you live overseas and would like to purchase a copy please contact us at

© Text: Byron Region Community College Inc 2013
© Cartoons: Phil Somerville © 2013
Cover and layout design: Selina Stockini

Permission to reproduce individual sections of the material is freely given for educational purposes but source must be acknowledged.

For organisations wanting bulk electronic licencing arrangements please email for a copy of the licencing agreement.


A Toolkit of Learning Activities and Resources

Education needs to be ahead of the curve to be most useful. Never was there a more pressing time to create the skills, capacity and motivation to empower people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating a sustainable future and to prepare them for a low-carbon economy.

Sustainability for Educators: A Toolkit of Learning Activities and Resources is an engaging and accessible collection of teaching/learning resources designed to catalyse this transformative education. It is essential reading for educators wanting to embed skills for sustainability into learning and professional development programs.

Of value to teachers, trainers and facilitators from vocational training organisations, universities, secondary schools, communities and business organisations, this resource will also provide great inspiration for campuses and businesses in planning and implementing sustainability changes.

The Toolkit Provides:

  • Succinct sustainability concepts
  • Strong grounding in the principles of Education for Sustainability (EfS)
  • 80 practical EfS learning activities with tips, participant hand-outs and facilitator resources
  • Inspiring case studies of sustainability in action
  • Great cartoons
  • Signposts to the latest resources.


"Terrific. A treasure chest of pretty much everything you wanted to know about sustainability education, in one place. Somehow the authors have kept it informative and accessible, attractive and at the same time substantial. Well written, well organised, and well – what are you waiting for?" Professor Stephen Sterling, Head of Sustainability Education, Centre for Sustainable Futures, Plymouth University, UK.

"Engaging, practical, accessible and essential – an invaluable how-to resource for all educators. The authors convey an important message; our planet needs new ways of thinking and doing, teaching and learning. As educators, we can start here…" Gitanjali Bedi, Project Manager/Teacher, Capacity Building in Sustainability for Educators, National Centre for Sustainability, Swinburne University of Technology

"From the start, the message that comes through clearly is that this is a comprehen­sive piece of work and, unlike many instances where a broad territory is to be covered, the work provides the reader with substantial detail. The authors recognise that a range of terms are used in connection with education and sustainability, but quickly identify their terminology and, importantly, set out their own perspectives and values that have guided their thinking and writing. From this the authors provide a strong emphasis on taking a personal and humanist approach, rather than a technical or managerial approach, to considering change possibilities." Ian Thomas, Environmental Policy lecturer, RMIT University Melbourne reviewing the Toolkit in the Australian Journal of Environmental Education, Vol 20(2), Dec. 2014 To read the full review click here