Current Projects

2021 Projects

Research Seed Grant

How do young people perceive and adapt to climate change? A participatory action research project to promote community resilience and voices of regional NSW youth affected by bushfire

Objective: Over 12 months, we propose to work with young people in the NSW Snowy Valleys who were significantly impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires to build a community of young artists and activists. The project will showcase their voices and agency through art and public/online dissemination. We will recruit at least six young people to the project. We will visit the community to meet with them, their families, and the wider community to plan the project. We will provide cameras and other media to enable them to document their experiences. We will hold follow-up sessions for all young people involved in the project online on a monthly basis to build a collaborative, cohesive community of support. Towards the end of the 12-month project, the artwork produced will be exhibited online and in public spaces, with public openings. These activities will develop social resilience and create opportunities for subsequent research.

Project contacts: Dr Rachael Fox & Dr Andrew McGrath

Project Budget: $9,543.60

Project Grants

Shruder, SharkTank & Solutionaires Project

Objective: Three Phase Project – Incorporating sustainability practice, creation of a circular economy of precious plastics, supported by education delivered on campus to equip future leaders with creative and critical problem-solving skills to formulate solutions to create a world worth living in.

Phase 1: Charles Sturt University Port Macquarie Campus to collaborate with the Plastic Collective, to become home base to their proprietary “Shruder” recycling machine, which processes raw shredded plastic waste material from land, sea/beach, rivers and used in building, household recycled items as well as extrusion cord or filament. Facilitated by Lloyd Godson, who will deliver a series of campus workshops for high school, university students, industry, and community.

Phase 2: Annual ‘Charles Sturt Sustainability Innovation and Challenge’ which involves high school students, community groups, and student body participating to design a useful product from recycled plastic. Three divisions – each with a cash prize to reinvest in a sustainable activity.

Phase 3: Charles Sturt PMQ to be home base for a 20-week on-campus Solutionaires Lab through Shark Tank eSchool program, taking high school students on an entrepreneurial journey from problem definition, solution, prototyping, business modeling, and through to pitching. It encourages critical and creative thinking about real-world problems with a keen environmental and social suitability lens. Connecting with high school students on their social entrepreneurship journey, with the potential to integrate with the Environmental Science team, as well as IT, Creative Industries, Humanities, Communications, Innovation research, and DIT.

Project contact: Kate Wood-Foye

Project Budget: $9,000

Contact the Port Macquarie Campus Environment committee if you want to be involved in this project

Rivers of hope: Saving our species through the arts

Objective: Alpine aquatic environments are some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet. In 2018, a small fish species, the Stocky galaxias (Galaxias tantangara), was discovered in Kosciusko National Park. This species is only known to occur in a single < 4 km section of Tantangara Creek, and is, therefore, one of the most endangered fishes in the world. Following the 2019/2020 bushfires, the species was almost completely lost. A number of remaining individuals were rescued and brought to Charles Sturt's Albury Campus, where they are currently being held as an ‘insurance population’ in a specialised, newly built facility (in a modified shipping container) that can maintain them under alpine conditions.

We are proposing to commission a mural at the facility to bring awareness to the threats to aquatic ecosystems and these endangered species. The mural will surround the container and will depict an alpine aquatic ecosystem landscape, with the Stocky galaxias (held inside the facility) featured as the flagship alpine species. We will engage a local (Thurgoona) artist who specialises in threatened species artworks. The purpose of this mural is to educate, raise awareness, and help familiarise our local community with our threatened freshwater fauna. This mural also aims to inspire the growth of creativity within the local district, as art is a valuable expression of our culture and a driving force for social change.

Project contact: Dr Katie Doyle & Professor Lee Baumgartner

Project Budget: $9,900

Project contributors: Dr Nathan Ning, Kyle Weatherman, Jarrod McPherson and Peter Collier

Activating Consumer Markets to Recognise Soil Stewardship: Educational Package

Objective: The Soil CRC has funded several projects involving the activation of consumer and other markets to better incentivise farmers and the agricultural value chain to support the uptake of soil stewardship practices.  As part of this work, we have run consumer focus groups, value-chain interviews, developed communications materials (TVCs, websites, infographics, advertorials), and worked with Costa Georgiadis. Shortly we will experimentally test the effectiveness of combinations of these in influencing consumer demand for products developed using soil stewardship practices.

This co-funded project seeks to develop a high-school educational package for business studies, geography or environmental sciences drawing on learnings and creative materials from the Soil CRC projects. The aim is to teach about soil quality and stewardship which is important for long-term activation of consumer markets, as well as learning about agriculture, markets, supply chains, and how research and experimentation, together with the creative arts, can inform and drive change.

Project Contact: Professor Mark Morrison

Project Budget: $10,000

Project Contributors: Dr Felicity Small, Dr Jenni Greig, Dr Kirsty Mackenzie & Dr John Rafferty

Duck Pond Revitalisation

Objective: The “Duck Pond” dam features prominently along the “Eco Walk” on the Bathurst Campus. To further enhance the bird and aquatic life of the dam, our aim is to install a dam fountain aerator, which is both a water feature and supports the health of the aquatic ecosystem. A dam aerator prevents stratification by mixing oxygen throughout the layers of the water and prevents the water from separating into layers, which have different temperatures and levels of oxygen, this will also assist with the build-up of sludge on the dam floor from decomposing organic matter. This sludge has the potential to release toxins and nutrients into the water which could lead to algal blooms, aquatic weed, and aquatic kill. The fountain aerator will create a constant circulation between all levels in the dam assisting beneficial bacteria to thrive and consume excess nutrients floating in the water.

The development of this area is a current project undertaken by DFM Operations on the Bathurst Campus. We are introducing possum boxes to the area with funds secured through a Sustainability Grassroots Grant. We are also working with the Pollinator Garden project to benefit the ecosystem surrounding the dam.

Project contact: Shane O'Brien

Project Budget: $9,005

Project Contributors: Therese King & Matthew Maggs

Just Add Non-Potable Water: Maintaining Flourishing Sustainable Communities

Objective: Through the strategic alignment of new and existing resources to extend the use of non-potable water on the Albury Campus, this project significantly expands the Kerr Sustainable Centre Community Garden (KSG) on the Thurgoona campus. For over a decade KSG has been a valuable feature of the Thurgoona campus; with 80 regular gardeners and tonnage of annual produce. While demand for plots at the KSG has been high, recent urban development around Thurgoona has seen the demand increase dramatically - making expansion critical. Importantly, the infrastructure around the Kerr Cottage is old and constantly failing, resulting in more than 20,000 litres of potable water being lost per month! Apart from being a waste of valuable potable water the old infrastructure is a cost to the University through water bills and continual maintenance. Through the provision of non-potable water to the KSG the site can be disconnected from the potable supply and end this unnecessary wastage.

Project Contact: Dr John Rafferty

Project Budget: $9,933.75

Box-Gum Grassy Woodland Mid/Understorey Restoration

Objective: The Wagga Wagga Campus is fortunate to have two bushland hills located in the heart of the campus, which are designated biodiversity areas. As the campus has developed, the natural link between the two hills has been degraded by the construction of roads, carparks, and buildings. One of the surviving, slender wildlife corridors runs, in part, through a previously grazed paddock that still contains the overstorey trees of a Box-Gum Grassy Woodland. These woodlands are a Critically
Endangered Ecological Community in NSW. The project proposes to create an improved wildlife corridor and restore this ecological community to a more natural state. Approx. 2850 sqm of disused paddock will be reassigned as a biodiversity area. The project area is to be fenced to exclude hares and rabbits for three years. This will enable mid and understorey plants to be restored using appropriate plantings, along with natural regeneration from the surviving seed bank

Project Contact: Will Pollack & Collin James

Project Budget: $7,500

Contact the Wagga Wagga Campus Environment committee if you want to be involved in this project


Community-University Partnership Grants

2021 is the third year Sustainability at Charles Sturt have supported environmental sustainability-themed grants within the Community-University Partnership Grants (CUP Grants) and these have again proved very popular within our regional communities. We are proud to support these worthy projects:

OrganisationProjectFunding Awarded
Erin EarthA new volunteer fridge$1,000
Goodstart Early Learning EstellaBushtucker Garden$1,000
Turvey Park Public SchoolWhole school waste reduction & kitchen garden project$800
Rotary Club of South Wagga WaggaRegeneration work on Rocky Hill$1,000
Coolamon PreschoolBuilding sustainable practices by introducing chickens into the preschool$1,000
Rotary Club of Orange Inc.The Orange Sustainable Living Expo$1,000
Mullion Creek Public SchoolNative Bush Tucker Garden$1,000
O'Connell Public School P&C AssociationSeasonal kitchen garden & chicken coop$1,000
Wauchope Public School P&C AssociationOutdoor learning area - fruit & veggie garden$1,000

Grassroots Grants

Project
Campus
Funding
Possum BoxBathurst $699
Supporting Healthy LivingDubbo$990
Wagga Wagga Community Vegetable GardenWagga Wagga$740
Sustainable@28Wagga Wagga$1,000

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