“I just enjoy nature and I think it’s important to look after the environment, it’s just one of my values I guess,” Sheridan says.
“When you see things through the media that show the damage that’s being done to the planet, you know that it’s important.”
Sheridan is on the school’s sustainability committee and has played a crucial role in expanding and implementing many environmental initiatives.
“We work on rubbish collection, recycling, there’s an environmental centre called the ‘eco garden’ and that has garden beds, it’s got worm farms, a native garden, it’s got areas for children to sit, bench seats and just areas where children throughout the school create sustainable or environmental practices and display them,” she says.
“We’ve got a fish pond which has herbs planted around the edge of it. We’ve had lots of recycling activities ... for instance, [one] of the things my class did was make a mini garden out of a Coke bottle and a plant and we’ve suspended those on the fence, just to create something interesting.
"Other students painted old work boots and grew ... various things in them. We just recycle and enjoy being up there.”
Although Sheridan is quick to downplay her importance to the sustainability program, Halls Head recently recognised her efforts with a school board award. “It’s quite humbling actually, because we do have a very professional staff,” she says.
“It’s just a lovely recognition. We all work because we have our own standards, but no-one does anything for recognition, we just do it because that’s our job and we want to see students learn and create the best, most effective way of doing that. But it is definitely a real honour.”
The award comes with a $1500 professional development fund, but Sheridan isn’t yet sure what she’s going to use it on.
“I haven’t chosen it yet, but there’s a number of groups in the community that are sustainably focused that I’m sure I can link with and access PD,” she says.
Sheridan hopes that the environmental lessons she teaches her students will stay with them throughout their lives.
“[I’m] more than happy to try and make a change with students that are in my care. That’s our opportunity to teach them a better way, or just to make them aware of how simple things can be, to create some change,” she says.