Department of Education

Sustainable Schools WA

Sustainable Schools WA

Kensington Primary


Action

1. Biodiversity audit

Students sought advice and support from the wider community and organisations to provide them with the expertise they needed to survey the sump area in order to determine what was already present. The City of South Perth confirmed the inactivity of the pipes located in the sump and provided information about what infrastructure needed to be retained. Boundaries and borders where also determined in order to ascertain if the area could be expanded during its rehabilitation.

Staff from the Perth Zoo Horticulture section visited the school and undertook tree health surveys as well as showed the students how to identify native and introduced species growing within the area. Trees that needed to be removed entirely or pruned back were identified. Perth Zoo Australian Fauna staff showed the students how to conduct fauna surveys using transects and quadrants as well as timed bird surveys to see which species were flying in and out of the area.

During these surveys it was found that there was a low level of biodiversity present, that several of the large trees would need to be removed and that considerable earth works may be required during the rehabilitation process. There was also a large amount of leaf litter, weeds, fallen branches and general debris that would need to be removed.

2. Creating a vision for the area

Students investigated the flora and fauna that would have lived in the area historically. As none of the trees that were to remain had nesting hollows, the students determined that they would need to provide nesting boxes in order to attract cockatoos and other large birds to the garden. Bat boxes would also be needed to give microbats a safe place to rest in the garden.

Students also undertook sun surveys to determine where shade fell during the day to determine where to place outdoor classroom resources for best use.

A Perth Zoo education officer facilitated a brainstorming session in which students decided how they would like the finished area to look and feel. Some of the words recorded included: calm, natural, bird songs, kids learning, outside classroom, shady and frogs! Armed with these insights and using cardboard, plastic and paint, students built a scale model of their vision for the finished area. By utilising the community connections students had been developing, this model was professionally translated into concept drawings. The model and these drawings would not only provide the inspiration for the next phase of the project but also prove valuable for communicating their vision to others.

Creating a vision

The model developed by students showing their vision for the Kensington Community Gardens.
Photo courtesy of John Bailey

3. Implementation plan

Once their vision was clear, students again linked up with the wider community and organisations to get work on the ground started. Leaf litter and debris were removed by volunteers and, due to the scale of the work that was required, tree removal, earthworks and landscaping was undertaken professionally. An experienced project manager, working on a volunteer basis, coordinated the building phase of the project.

The students started a website (www.alivenhopping.com) to communicate the project’s vision and aims, and to thank partners that had donated their time and resources (a complete list of contributors can be found on this website).

Creating a vision

Kensington Community Garden site after removal of trees, debris and fencing.
Photo courtesy of John Bailey

Ecological Footprint Action Learning Areas

  • Biodiversity
  • Water

Social Handprint Action Learning Areas

  • Community partnerships
  • Student wellbeing
  • Built environment

Australian Curriculum links: Content Descriptions

  • Biological Science (ACSSU094)
  • Use and Influence of Science (ACSHE100) , (ACSHE220)
  • Processing and Evaluating Data (ACSIS107)
  • Communicating (ACSIS110)

Australian Curriculum links: Organising Ideas

  • Futures
    Actions for a more sustainable future reflect values of care, respect and responsibility, and require us to explore and understand environments

    Sustainable futures result from actions designed to preserve and/or restore the quality and uniqueness of environments

Results

  • This project fostered the development of leadership, communication and problem solving skills as well as active citizenship and civic responsibility. Students developed a deep understanding of the science concepts involved and of conservation, biodiversity and sustainability through their engagement in this initiative.
  • The Kensington Community Gardens project continues to develop and evolve.
  • Due to the high level of student ownership and sense of stewardship, some students continue to be involved in the Kensington Community Garden project even though they have graduated from primary school and moved onto high school.
     
Kensington Primary
http://det.wa.edu.au/curriculumsupport/sustainableschools/detcms/navigation/action-learning-areas/community-partnerships/kensington-primary/?page=2

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