Home' Focus : 2014 College Yearbook Contents 19
The wetlands have been the focus of some intensive weed
eradication this year, with willows, gorse and blackberries
being removed, and native trees and shrubs being planted in
their place. During Schools Tree Day the Year 9 Environmental
Education students teamed up with Year 5 students to plant
almost 100 trees in an area recently cleared of weeds.
The Year 9s also undertook research on the endangered
Green and Golden Bell Frog, which frequents the wetlands, and
planted a variety of wetland plants to help create good frog
habitat. With the ongoing work of College Groundsman Mr
Codie Bounday and the support of the Scotch Oakburn College
Environmental Association (SOCEA), sta and students, we are
making good headway towards achieving the goal of having
native species of plants and animals dominating and weeds and
pest species under control.
Across the Middle and Senior campuses the paper recycling
has been going strongly, with the bins being emptied regularly
by Year 8 and 9 Environmental Education students who are
pleased to report that everyone is doing a good job at putting
the right materials in the bins, with very little in the way of
contaminants making their way into the recycling. The Middle
School vegetable garden continues to produce herbs and
vegetables for Café 8 and Food Tech classes, and the Inspire
Year 8 (IY8) Green project challenged students to create
something of significance using recycled materials with a
budget of under $10. Liam French's mobile chicken coop was
a fantastic IY8 example, and he auctioned it o , raising $900
which he donated to St. Giles.
The Year 7 students were involved in an overnight
sustainable agriculture experience at the St Johnstone
property, which they have been visiting each year since 2012,
and will continue to do so until they complete Year 12. The
students were involved in a range of activities such as planting
shelterbelts, conducting soil and water testing, identifying
wildlife, and planting seed from native trees into tubes to grow
for planting back at St Johnstone in coming years.
The Junior School has been a thriving network of
sustainability initiatives and learning projects, with the
Claremont Gardens being the focal point for many students.
Building on the philosophy of creating a garden for children
rather than adults, many classes have customised their patch to
represent their thinking and learning projects.
Prep classes have been recycling and reusing materials in
their garden, and working on turning old wooden pallets into
vertical gardens. Year 1s have researched and designed a creek
bed to run through their garden, have hand-dug the creek and
are creating an ecosystem around it. Recycling and composting
has been reviewed by students in the 'Greenthumbs' group and,
after conducting an audit, researching options and creating a
management plan, new recycling and composting bins have
been placed around the campus, both in classrooms and in
the playground. Food scraps from students, the tuckshop, and
the Boarding House are all being composted in the Claremont
Gardens. The new recycling and composting scheme was
highlighted in a 'Rethink Your Waste' week where students ran
a recycled fashion parade and conducted a range of activities
which focused on how we create and manage waste.
Sta have also had Professional Learning sessions in the
gardens, with a focus on using this amazing learning space
to its full potential as a source of inspiration and a spark
for students' natural curiosity. One Early Learning class
dedicated an entire day in the Gardens, with a strong focus
on exploration, discovery, and connecting with each other
and the natural world. Initially, when asked what colours they
saw in the garden, the students decided on green, grey, and
brown. However, by the end of the day the students had found
every colour of the rainbow, which was then the springboard
for a wide-ranging learning exploration of colour back in the
classroom throughout the following weeks.
Another powerful learning experience came from a Year 4
class that used rosemary from the gardens to create flavoured
olive oil. After adding the rosemary to the olive oil, the students
noticed that some bottles went cloudy. Why was this so?
Was it from the bottles, the air, the oil, or the rosemary? This
led to the students conducting scientific experiments where
variables were identified and controlled, trials were run, data
and observations collected, and conclusions drawn. The
evidence pointed to the rosemary being the culprit, and further
investigation revealed that if the rosemary was not properly
dried it would cause the oil to go cloudy.
This raised a further question: how to properly dispose of
the oil? The students' investigations and research led to a study
of biofuels, with a guest speaker from the industry visiting the
class. This was a great example of the powerful intersections
between engagement with nature and student-directed
Overall, the concepts of sustainability are strongly
embedded across the College, and interactions with the natural
world can provide powerful and authentic learning experiences.
We look forward to continuing, and building on, these
experiences in 2015.
Mr Mark Hassell
Deputy Head of Senior School, President of SOCEA
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