WARRNAMBOOL East Primary School has taken out a statewide sustainability award for leadership at a ceremony at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The school won the ResourceSmart Schools award for community leadership for the school's efforts to clean up south-west beaches and educate students about sustainability.
The school's specialist science teacher Kerry McCarthy said the students were surprised and honoured to have their efforts recognised.
"It makes them stand up taller and motivates them to keep going and make more of a difference," Ms McCarthy said.
She said she led years three-four students each term to pick up rubbish on Warrnambool's beaches with the rubbish then recorded in Tangaroa Blue's national marine debris data.
The initiative started about seven years ago when Zoos Victoria approached the school. Zoos Victoria also included the school's beach cleanup initiatives in its hall of fame in 2017.
"I think the students are pretty proud of themselves when they collect a lot of rubbish off the beach," Ms McCarthy said.
"They might even get a bit cross when they notice some rubbish there. We talk about the impact it has on the animals and the environment itself."
The school also hosts Deakin University marine undergraduates who teach students about entanglements and the impact of plastic on marine life.
Victorian Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio awarded three year five students with the award in Melbourne on Thursday.
"Congratulations to the finalists and winners, you are leading the way when it comes to protecting the environment and acting on climate change," Ms D'Ambrosio said.
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