Case Study:

The Drain is Just for Rain: Environmental Education
Training Course for Local Government Officers
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage


Councils throughout NSW and the rest of Australia are developing and implementing (and sometimes evaluating) education programs across a range of environmental issues. In NSW, as a result of extensive Government funding under the Urban Stormwater Program (USP), numerous stormwater education programs have been implemented. Evaluation of these programs and the USP in general indicated the need by councils for further training in stormwater education. SD Environmental Management was commissioned to develop and conduct an accredited (local government competency-based) training course in the use of education for stormwater pollution prevention.

A number of project outcomes were listed in the brief including:

  • Increased skills in local government to use education approaches to improve the quality of the environment and stormwater in particular;
  • Increased ability of local government officers to engage community in stormwater pollution prevention;
  • Improved capacity of local government officers to understand and use non-structural stormwater interventions;
  • Improved quality of council initiated environmental education at a local level;
  • Increased numbers of suitably trained local government officers; and
  • Network of stormwater educators sharing ideas and resources.

To achieve these outcomes, SD Environmental Management teamed up with First Class Training to undertake a number of tasks including researching and developing training modules linked to the appropriate local government competencies which addressed:

  • How to plan, conduct and evaluate community and industry oriented education initiatives;
  • How to engage the community in effective and meaningful ways;
  • How to work with specific target audiences: NESB, Aboriginal, schools, local industries; and
  • How to work with media and use media approaches to promote and support local initiatives.

Comprehensive training resources were developed, including participants workbooks, case studies, a training manual and presentation materials in print and powerpoint.

Participant Comments

"It was a great course. The trainers were excellent, both friendly and helpful. The opportunity for assistance in the future is a good idea."

"Has helped me refocus how I organize major events, be more effective and improve my performance."

"Thanks for an energetic course, happy faced facilitators and well managed dynamics of group."

"Thank you! Very enjoyable, a lot of good planning and well designed program to motivate us."

"Thank you for your work. You presented a lengthy thing in nice easy chunks - it flowed well."

"The course helped to clarify the whole evaluation framework concept, and also clearly defined a 'project'."

"The course took a good clear and simple approach to the topic. I feel like I understand the process of education design a lot better and am confident I could run a successful program."

"It has focused my efforts on what I have been employed to do, and given me confidence that I will be able to do it."

"Sonja and Phil are the most receptive facilitators I have ever worked with."