Students grow, and so do their gardens

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Building a generation of solutionaires

Golden Grove High School teacher, David Larritt’s dual-role as student counsellor, and teacher of the Conservation and Land Management Certificate 2, has allowed him to observe changes in young people who engage with their natural surroundings.Golden-Grove-HSweb

“Students realise that we don’t just live in a place and space, we also have a real responsibility for that place and space,” said David.

“I’ve seen quieter students find their strengths through connecting with our environment.  As they get involved, they gain confidence, take on responsibility and leadership roles and act as mentors to younger students,” David explained.

Golden-Grove-3web“Understanding their place in the greater community is another important take-away. Some students have even been inspired to take on added responsibility through external voluntary roles such as sitting on the Youth Environment Council.”

Leading by a cool example

“It certainly helps when the whole school is engaged, and enviro-minded teachers are supported by all staff, including the Principal, as it is at Golden Grove,” added David.Golden-Grove-HS-2web

He also said that while many primary schools have an environmental focus there is drop off in secondary. “There are so many competing priorities, many teachers feel it becomes difficult to fit in enviro education. The reality is everything we teach is linked to sustainability”.

“Cool Australia resources provide curriculum for every subject and help to conquer time and knowledge gaps for teachers.”

Embedding and keeping alive environmental actions

This year, Golden Grove High School’s Enviroweek projects will be focused on the Green Thumb challenge, including weeding and replanting in the indigenous garden and replacing the car park exotics with native eucalypts, all with proper land management in mind.

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Similarly, trees planted 25 years ago to shade the car park have not grown to their full height, as they are not suited to the climate. As David observed, “people often start projects like these with the best intentions, but if it’s not done properly it won’t last”.

Or, as 19th Century philosopher and naturalist Henry Thoreau fittingly wrote, “what is one well done is done forever”.

BY: LUCY WALLINGTON