An article written in the Gatton Star about the School sustainability program I work on for many years

by FRANCIS WITSENHUYSEN
29th Mar 2016 2:30 PM
 ST MARY’S School sustainability garden has become a special place students can go to escape the craziness of the school yard.
The garden was started after the 2013 floods when the school received some funding towards the mental health rehabilitation of the students.
A Holistic orchard, fairy garden, veggie patch, chicken pen and native bees make up the garden, with room for more installations to be added.
Students and 2016 sustainability gardening committee member, James, said his favourite part of the garden was the chook pen.
“I get to feed the chickens, collect their eggs and learn about the benefits of compost,” he said.
“But the most important thing I’ve learnt in the garden, is to always water the plants.
“I like to come down here when I have a headache. It’s nice because its quieter and cooler.”
St Mary’s School Officer, Michael Wardle, helped to get the garden going three years ago.
“It’s a place for the kids, made by the kids,” he said.
“The students own it from the ground up.
“And they get hands-on, in the dirt while learning about where there food comes from.”

Michael said the garden was a good place for kids who are having issues to come down and have space and reflection time.
“I work with some kids who are having troubles in the class room so I bring them out here and do some practical things and relate it what they are doing in class. That way they have some hands on learning,” he said.
“This is a space where those kids can come to play and express themselves without interruptions.”
Michael said the garden also helps the school to be more sustainable
“We have processing tools too so all of our organic waste ends up here,” he said.
“And 60 per cent of what people use is organic waste, so the school has reduced its waste by 60 per cent and growing veggies at the end of it.
Mr Wardle said typically there would be between 30-50 students down in the garden, of a lunch-time.

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