Pupils get green fingers from new habitats, gardens and orchards

Coolbinia Primary School, WA

Coolbinia Primary School receiving the Westpac Junior Landcare Grant

In 2010, Coolbinia Primary School in Western Australia decided to investigate how the school was affecting the natural environment around it. A group of special student leaders were tasked with making recommendations that would help improve the school’s ‘Eco Footprint’ and ‘Social Handprint’.

It was agreed that a frog habitat should be made for animals and insects, an orchard, a vegetable garden and a relaxing ‘wellbeing garden’ to offer students a place to enjoy and learn about nature.

To help kick-start this exciting ‘YOUth LEADing our Biodiversity Adventure’ project , the School applied for and received a Westpac Junior Landcare Grant, which focused on creating Junior Landcare Student Sustainability Leaders in schools and youth groups nationwide.

Amy Krupa and Dot Hepburn from the South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare led workshops, provided around 200 native seedlings and advised the eager students on habitat requirements and growth. Seedlings and further mentoring was also generously provided by Niall Kilcullen from Coolbinia Bushcare Group, Local Government and NRM (Natural Resource Management).

Community groups, other schools and parents also got involved by donating recyclable materials and getting their hands dirty by volunteering their time to the project.

Overall, the gap in Coolbinia’s ‘Social Handprint’ was filled by the ‘wellbeing garden’ which provides pupils with a beautiful outdoor learning area in a safe and natural environment. The habitat provides, not only, a suitable home for local frogs, birds and butterflies but also benefits the school’s ‘Eco Footprint’ through enhanced biodiversity, water saving initiatives and recycling projects.

Creating habitats and green spaces like these is a perfect example of Junior Landcare – a way of encouraging kids to get involved in a hands-on and continued commitment towards responsibility for the local environment. After all, they’re our Landcarers of the future!