Past Projects

Ecotherapy Garden


This project is developing a garden, consisting predominantly of native plants, at the public mental health ward (2N) at Calvary Hospital.

The garden provides a private therapeutic environment for patients to undertake occupational therapy activities, and to use as they wish. In planning for this project we found that therapeutic gardens have long been seen to be beneficial to patients in health care environments.  In 1964, the term ‘biophilia’ was first used to describe the psychological orientation of being attracted to things that are alive and vital.  This theory has been extensively researched and has been demonstrated to have positive effects on people’s psychological wellbeing and health. Environmental factors such as the existence and use of gardens have been linked to decreased patient recovery time, decreasing use of pain medication and reduced stress to healthcare workers and patients’ families

The garden also creates a natural space within the densely built environment of the hospital to encourage and promote biodiversity as an aid to creating a healthy and sustainable environment for all hospital users: patients, staff and visitors. Environmentally, a garden of this sort at the hospital contributes to better urban biodiversity and native habitat and forms a link between the hospital campus and surrounding bushland.  The area around the Calvary campus contains remnant bushland and through incorporating native species in the built landscape we establish and maintain connection between the natural and built environments.

Grow Together


Grow Together is a nutrition education program for young children that was established by the Canberra Environment Centre in 2011. The aim of the project is to introduce kids to healthy food and build an awareness of the natural environment through growing food, composting food scraps and having a whole lot of fun.  Childcare centres are provided with raised garden beds, a rainwater tank, a worm farm and a compost bin which become the platform for weekly education sessions.  The children are involved in all steps of the growing process from planting seeds to harvesting and eating raw foods.

Grow Together is currently running at six Southside Community Services childcare centres: Acacia Children’s Education and Care Centre, Binara Early Childhood Centre, Birralee Care and Educational Centre, Currawong Childcare Centre, Forrest Early Childhood Centre and Narrabundah Children's Cottage.

Grow Together is supported by ACT Healthy Canberra Grants in 2017.

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Carbon Challenge


The 2012 Carbon Challenge was such a success that the ACT Government’s Environment and Planning Directorate decided to launch a new and improved version on their new look ACTSmart website in 2015. We have worked closely with the EPD in developing the new Carbon Challenge and we think you’re going to love it.

If you are ready for a new challenge, join us at: www.actsmart.act.gov.au and register today!