On a cool and windy grey morning, 50 Class Seven students from Orana Steiner School planted 40 trees and shrubs around the Weston Creek Orchard in celebration of Tree Week, 1-9 May.
The students spent months preparing for the planting, digging holes, and learning about the Orchard behind the school.
They were also joined by several members of the City Services Tree Planting team to assist with the project.
Chris Boswell, an Orana parent and Orchard volunteer has been working at the Weston Creek Orchard for several years to rejuvenate the site as a community orchard using organic, permaculture and biodynamic practices.
At the end of 2020, Mr Boswell began working with Class Seven teacher Sharaine Talip to involve the students in making the Orchard more sustainable and to build the environment around the Orchard.
He helped the students plant a mix of native trees and shrubs including red box and yellow box trees, Blakely’s red gum, apple gum, weeping bottlebrush, and lemon double bottlebrush.
“They’re planting trees which go with the open woodland forest area. This is an area that’s remnant of what Canberra was like before white man settled here,” Mr Boswell said.
“I think it’s good for kids to be connected to their environment and to get out there.”
Ms Talip said the teachers became involved with the planting to help their students learn about community service as they begin to enter high school.
“[We] wanted to embed something in terms of leadership and community service within the school because that was something we really want to bolster in Class Seven in particular,” she said.
“We’ve noticed a really beautiful benefit for the kids, and it hasn’t necessarily tied in with our curriculum; it’s more about the community service aspect within our school and just about doing things for other people with no other reward or perceived reward or getting something in return which has been lovely.”
She said that getting her class outside and watching them have fun was a highlight of the project.
Class Seven student Amelia Kolano said she enjoys getting her hands dirty and hopes to continue doing similar activities in the future.
“I like planting different trees, reading about the different names of the trees, digging the holes and cutting back the blackberries,” she said.
“My sisters always come up here and they love running around here. So, the other day I cut through the blackberries and cut off a little path so they could run through and play.
“The thought of having big trees all around here is really cool.”
To learn more about Canberra Tree Week, visit www.cityservices.act.gov.au
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