For the past 4 years Belinda Watson has worked closely with a team of dedicated animal studies teachers to introduce the concepts of education for sustainability to students.
In 2001 an opportunity to teach sustainability within the Melbourne Polytechnic Agriculture and Animals Studies Department become available and from there sustainability has become part of all teaching areas in the animal studies programs. In 2013 Belinda and another team member were awarded a grant to develop and deliver online learning content in the areas of sustainability, occupational health and safety and workplace communications.
Since then several units of competency have been available online via Melbourne Polytechnics learning management system – moodle. Belinda’s interest in sustainability started as an undergraduate student, completing an Applied Science Degree in Environmental Health and subsequent study focusing on environmental studies and education for sustainability. Working with the animal studies team has given her great pleasure and nurtures her love of animals and introducing students to concepts they may not traditionally associate with animal studies.
Last year the animal studies team and students in the Animal Technology program ran a sustainability project – Growing food for animals in our animal facilities. Students designed a vegie patch and then grew vegetables on campus to feed a range of small mammals in our animal facility. The project demonstrated action learning and how small collaborative groups can make a difference to sustainability outcomes. The project aimed to save money on animal feed, introduce organic gardening ideas and engage students with their learning and environment.
Belinda joined Melbourne Polytechnic’s Conservation and Applied Science Department in 1997, as a new teacher and over this time has had many different positions within the institute. She originally help set up the industry based programs for food science and technology and during this time she spent many years as an industry trainer and assessor, working with business managers and production workers. Her time at Melbourne Polytechnic has seen her work roles change many times but the constant has been facilitating learning for students and working with professional and enthusiastic teaching and support staff.