Education Award – Raising the Bar
Gippsland Water Factory – A new way to care for water
Gippsland Water, VIC
The Vortex Centre is an exciting and innovative community educational facility based at the Gippsland Water Factory – a world first wastewater treatment and recycling system located at Maryvale in south-east Victoria. Featuring interactive displays, touch-screens and powerful videos, the Vortex focuses on water conservation and sustainable water management; highlighting water as a precious resource at a local, state, national and global level. The Vortex plays a key role in delivering Gippsland Water’s vision to create an environmental and social legacy through its new education program, ‘Water Wonders’; both for students, the local community and water stakeholders. The inspiring building, hands-on activities, engaging programs, and distinctive location combine to promote behavioural change and increased awareness of the need to use water responsibly. Described as ‘the building that teaches’, the centre features sustainable design elements to minimise energy consumption and ensure the Vortex itself practices what it preaches.
Comments from Judges
The Judges were impressed that this project combined the “outer” (environmentally friendly building) with the “inner” (the behaviour change through education) in a highly engaging and innovative program that strategically targeted and provided the respective level of education from primary school to tertiary level. Judges commented on the degree of detail considered in engaging the local public and see this as a real example of a living educational model.