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Costa visits the Salvos his favorite charity store

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A little train ride with ABC Gardening show host Costa - Paul Lehmann ResourceSmart School project coordinator (wearing hat) with Sebastopol Salvos staff enjoy a moment with the livewire gardener last week.

FOUR Ballarat Schools and a Sebastopol Op Shop got a very special visit from ABC Gardening host Costa Georgiadis on Tuesday, 13 March 2018. Costa, who was in Ballarat over the weekend for the Begonia Festival stayed an extra day to visit some of the city’s Resource Smart Schools.

“While it is great that Costa has come, along with Dirt Girl, to Ballarat’s Begonia Festival this year,” explained La Vergne Lehmann, Executive Officer, Grampians Central West Waste & Resource Recovery Group, “it is fantastic that he is able to visit some of our local schools and see some of the great environmental and sustainability work that they are doing already and are planning to do in the coming year.” Costa visited a number of schools who are either just starting on their Resource Smart Schools journey or are well on their way to becoming leadership schools. The schools have made a commitment to include a range of activities in their school, through their curriculum, operations and their community engagement activities to improve environmental outcomes.

“What we know is that if we can introduce students to some of these important environmental and sustainability concepts in a practical way at school, they will take it home,” said Paul Lehmann, Grampians ResourceSmart Schools Coordinator.

An inspiration to people and communities all over Australia, Costa brought his own brand of ‘gnome magic’ to St. Columba’s Primary School, St Patrick’s College, St. Francis Xavier and St. James Sebastopol.

In the afternoon Costa antivisited the Salvation Army’s Op Shop in Sebastopol to recognise the important work they do in helping local people along with ensuring a lot of unwanted items such as clothing, toys and household goods do not end up in landfill.

Costa said that he had received a fantastic reception from the school children, some of whom had seen him at the Begonia Festival.

“I’m happy to be able to support programs and groups because it’s a way for me to direct people, it’s fine for me to come and fire people up and say ‘go do this and go do that’ but here’s your locals on the ground doing stuff,” Costa said.

“For me that’s the best part because I get to put the spotlight on the teachers, the waste warriors, sustainability group or whatever.” Speaking with Costa at the ‘Salvo’s’ store, he said the good part about visiting the outlet was to take a program that is currently being used in schools ‘Resource Smart’ and to say why shouldn’t we bring it to businesses.

Part of that program is trying to make the store save money and not rely on head office support to run their expenses.

“I support National Op Shop Week and the Salvos on that level, to encourage people to recycle and not just take it to the tip,” Costa added.

“Give it a second life and not just put it in a hole in the ground.

“When you have champions, and I think this is critical for all the community based stuff, you have champions but they need that support so that they can keep inspiring.”