Department of Education

Sustainable Schools WA

Sustainable Schools WA

Baldivis Primary


Activity

The Baldivis Children’s Forest (BCF) has developed over the years since 2000 in response to local children’s concerns about the clearing of bushland and habitat loss as roads, houses, the Kwinana Freeway and rail line were built. This 19.79 hectare reserve (containing tuart woodlands and a portion of Outridge Swamp) is managed for conservation by children and community in partnership with the City of Rockingham and local industry.

Rehabilitation of the tuart woodlands and wetlands with local provenance seedlings has seen more than 20,000 seedlings planted to 2008.

Annual planting is done as part of the winter school activity days during which students take part in a broad range of learning, cultural and creative experiences.

The project has grown from an annual planting day by Baldivis Primary students, to a project involving many schools, parents, volunteers, interest groups, businesses, industry and local government partners.

On-ground conservation work and monitoring has included making nest boxes for black cockatoos, possums and bats; feral bee control; weed management; survey and monitoring work (annual bird register, fauna night stalks and trapping, water quality monitoring, fungi and flora surveys) as well as a comprehensive indigenous culture program. Children are involved in all on-ground works and adaptive management of the reserve. This has included the creation of walk trails, a bush tucker garden, educational track signage and brochures that provide recreational and educational resources for the public to enjoy.

Linking with local Aboriginal Elders and students since 2004 has provided wonderful learning opportunities and time to foster reconciliation.

Community workshops in 2007 were added to the project in response to requests from the broader community. Participants have eaten bush tucker, listened to stories, danced, built a mia mia, collected seed, gone orienteering, handled snakes, learnt bush survival and created clay ‘gremlins’ to live in the tuart trees.

In 2005, students began what has been a yearly undertaking - entry to the BHP Billiton Iron ore PALS Awards, coordinated by the Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA). The PALS program catapulted the students into an ancient culture rich in tradition and knowledge, and saw a range of projects embarked upon.

The first project was ‘Cooloongar Biddi’, a ‘children’s walk’ through remnant bushland on the school’s northern boundary. It showcased the six Noongar seasons by the erection and painting of totems, and a bush tucker garden was established by the students. The walk meandered from the bush tucker garden through the bushland to the pioneer hut which had been erected by students in previous years. In the centre of the walk a mia mia was constructed and logs were placed in a semi circle to provide a meeting place. Students researched and designed signage explaining the usage of the significant bush tucker plants found along the walk. The late Mr Joe Walley and his wife Margaret came to the school and gave permission for the students to carry out this and ensuing projects.

Students researched and acted a local traditional dreamtime story. Through Trish Collard, links were established to Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre, Murdoch University which became the catalyst to developing Nyoongar studies and cultural understanding at Baldivis Primary. By moving successive PALS projects to the Baldivis Children’s Forest in 2006 and 2007 this experience was extended to a greater number of schools.

Investigation into Nyoongar traditional cultural practices and their links to sustaining the natural environment are being further extended via a project that examines the traditional routes through the Kwinana Rockingham region. It showcases the landforms of traditional significance and explores the links and commodities of trading in the months of Birak and Bunuru when the people came to the coast to exchange their goods. The primary aim of this project is to help preserve the local landforms that are so threatened by urban expansion and highlight significant traditional practice associated with the local region. By this first hand practical experience local students will develop an increased appreciation of their immediate environment and be aware of the need to actively engage in its preservation.

 

Curriculum Links

English: Attitudes, Values and Beliefs; Listening; Writing
Science: Investigating; Acting Responsibly; Earth and Beyond; Life and Living
The Arts: Arts Ideas; Arts Skills and Processes
Society and Environment: Investigation, Communication & Participation; Place and Space; Resources; Culture; Time, Continuity and Change; Natural and Social Systems; Active Citizenship
Values: Social and Civic Responsibility; Environmental Responsibility
 

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Baldivis Primary
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