Department of Education

Sustainable Schools WA

Sustainable Schools WA

Glen Forrest Primary


Activity

The Nyaania Creek Super Block was previously an old orchard; purchased by the Shire of Mundaring a number of years ago, it is very degraded, with much of the ground completely bare.

In 2007, Glen Forrest’s Education for Sustainability (EfS) focus shifted to the nearby Nyaania Super Block, with a plan to convert it back to natural bush land.

The block is environmentally significant because Nyaania Creek runs through it, which in turn runs into the Helena River, which then runs into the Swan River.

The Shire was approached with the idea that Glen Forrest Primary would become responsible for the Block and they have been extremely supportive throughout the project.

The first step was to research which species occurred naturally in the area and seeds were either donated by Seeds West or purchased, with some collected from private property. Since then, the Environmental Coordinator has applied for a Seed Collector’s License allowing seeds to be collected from bush land on the block to ensure species are best suited to the area. Heirloom seeds are also being trialed in the permaculture garden to propagate the schools own plants next year.

One of the biggest challenges was finding out how to propagate native seedlings. It was discovered that smoke water was required, and students found the design for the right contraption on the internet, and a chemical was sourced through the Wildflower Society.

Students spread the seeds in makeshift seed trays then drenched them with smoke water. Once the water dried off the seeds were planted and carefully labeled for identification upon germination. Native seedlings are notoriously variable and can germinate anywhere from a week to 110 days. A good germination rate was achieved, especially with Wandoo, and approximately 1000 plants of various species germinated in total.

It was hard working out when seedlings were ready for planting out into the wild, but students learned that they could check their roots and see if they were ready to burst out of the pot.

On the first day of planting,150 trees and shrubs were planted out by students from four different classes. The Shire donated the green bags and bamboo sticks to protect the seedlings as well as donating mulch, and ripping up the soil so it wouldn’t be so hard for the children to plant in.

The local newspaper came along and covered the first planting.
A further 300 seedlings were planted in the second stage, with more being propagated for future plantings. Students and staff will be in charge of watering the plants over the Christmas holidays to help get them established.

Community Partnerships

  • Shire of Mundaring
  • Seeds West
  • Conservation Volunteers Australia’s ‘Green Schools Connect’ – 6 volunteers for 3 consecutive days assisted at the school with the project
  • Parents – supporting the ideas and assisting with implementation
  • School gardener - time working on the permaculture garden

The catalyst for this project was the learnings about the importance of trees in relation to climate change.

Curriculum Links

Society and Environment: Active Citizenship; Natural and Social Systems
Science: Life and Living
Values:
Environmental Responsibility; Conservation of the Environment

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Glen Forrest Primary
http://det.wa.edu.au/curriculumsupport/sustainableschools/detcms/navigation/action-learning-areas/biodiversity/glen-forrest-primary/

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