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BlueScope Steel has continued its support of the Mornington Peninsula Schools Environment Week and the Western Port Land for Wildlife sanctuary, as part of our long term commitment to educational and environmental initiatives in Victoria, Australia.
We have been involved with the Mornington Peninsula Schools Environment Week since 1995. This year, more than 3500 primary school students attended the five-day event held during March in Mount Martha. The themes for 2005 were water conservation and recycling.
BlueScope Steel and Silcar employees and Western Port contractors "manned a stand" during the week long event, providing hands-on activities and demonstrating our Western Port site's recycling and water wise concepts to students and their families.
Students from 31 schools in the Mornington Peninsula area saw how rainwater collected from a steel roof into a steel rainwater tank can be reused on the garden at home. Students also made pencil containers from recycled steel cans to show one of the many ways to recycle steel products.
Our Western Port plant also contributes to environmental conservation on the Mornington Peninsula through the 183 hectare Land for Wildlife sanctuary, which forms part of our site.
Established in 2001, the Land for Wildlife sanctuary houses a diverse range of flora, including a wide range of indigenous plants, trees and native orchids and fauna, including endangered species of bats, frogs, and birds.
School students and government agencies have assisted BlueScope Steel in our long term commitment to sustain the flora and fauna in the Land for Wildlife area by establishing bird hides, installing fencing to keep out feral animals, undertaking erosion management initiatives and general management of the area.
Many local community activities have been held at the sanctuary at Western Port. Local school students have visited the area to undertake tree planting and bird watching activities and to gain an understanding and appreciation of the natural resources on their doorstep. BlueScope Steel's participation in the Mornington Peninsula Schools Environment Week and our Land for Wildlife sanctuary are long term commitments that increase environmental awareness amongst the young people in our community and support the preservation of the valuable local environment. Our involvement will continue in 2006.
The Fit to Drive young driver education program has expanded to 65 schools across the state of Victoria in the past eighteen months and another thirty schools will join the program in the next year.
BlueScope Steel has supported the Fit to Drive program on the Mornington Peninsula for five years. The program aims to reduce teenage road fatalities and was started after the loss of seven young drivers in car accidents on the Peninsula in 2001.
More than 30,000 senior students from secondary colleges across metropolitan and country Victoria have this year learnt about road safety, the dangers of alcohol and speed and the need for at least 120 hours of driving experience in all road conditions before they tackle the road.
The three-year program is delivered to students in Years 10, 11 and 12, with each year progressively building on the previous program. Year 10 students undertake the Vic Roads "Keys Please" program, while Year 11 students participate in a half day risk reduction workshop using a peer education model. Tertiary students are trained to act as facilitators who work with the Year 11 students to develop strategies to minimise dangerous risk taking behaviour. Year 12 students view the TAC film "Muck Up Day" and discuss road safety issues in small groups.
Following the success of the Fit to Drive program on the Mornington Peninsula, other municipalities have replicated the program in their local area. The example provided by BlueScope Steel has also inspired other organisations to provide financial support for the program in other areas of the State.
The Arthurs Seat Challenge, an annual 6.7km run/walk, helps to raise community awareness of road trauma and risk taking whilst driving, and is the major fundraiser to support the continuation of the Fit to Drive program on the Mornington Peninsula. This year the event attracted 1800 participants urged on by a crowd of supporters
The Fit to Drive program has been endorsed by the Transport Accident Commission, Vic Roads and the Victoria Police.
An innovative marine education partnership between BlueScope Steel and the Dolphin Research Institute has awakened students in the Hastings region of Victoria to the wonders of their own coastal backyard and the global significance of Western Port.
The unique "Wonders of Western Port" marine education initiative was implemented during the second half of 2005, giving around 800 Year 5 and Year 6 students from 11 local schools the opportunity to learn about the precious species inhabiting the marine environment where they live.
Support provided by BlueScope Steel helped cover the A$9 cost per child and allowed all students to participate at no charge. The program reinforces our Company's philosophy of preserving and taking care of the people and sensitive environment in the area in which we operate.
The "Wonders of Western Port" program takes children on a journey to meet the incredible living marine treasures that share their home and complements other BlueScope Steel environment and community initiatives, including our involvement with Mornington Peninsula Schools Environment Week.
The outcomes of a marine science study around BlueScope Steel's Western Port site are incorporated into the program. This research program is Australia's longest ongoing marine environmental study. The significance of RAMSAR wetlands, Marine National Parks, the UN Biosphere and issues such as sea grass loss and port development are also covered.
"Wonders of Western Port" was developed by the Dolphin Research Institute in partnership with schools to ensure relevance, lasting impact and to add value to the on-going programs of individual schools.
The Dolphin Research Institute provides crucial marine research, education and balanced conservation services to the community on a not for profit basis. Although Dolphins are their primary concern, the organisation is active in many aspects of marine conservation in Port Phillip Bay and Western Port.