boral workshop

Banksia Woodland Brought Back to Life: Students from Orange Grove Primary School Participate in Conservation and Cultural Learning Day

Students from Orange Grove Primary School, in Orange Grove Western Australia, recently joined volunteers from Boral and Conservation Volunteers Australia in an effort to revegetate and rehabilitate a Banksia Woodland on school grounds.

The program is part of Boral’s on-going commitment to partner with community groups, including schools, in the region to make a contribution to environmental conservation and education.

The work initially involved the removal of Victorian Tea Tree (Leptospermum laevigatum), which has spread as a result of the fire break clearance. The Victorian Tea Tree poses a greater fire risk than the cleared native understory and is not native to Western Australia.

The Boral team ready to tackle the invasive Victorian Tea Tree at Orange Grove Primary School in Western Australia

The Boral team ready to tackle the invasive Victorian Tea Tree at Orange Grove Primary School in Western Australia

A team of Boral volunteers from the local quarry initially spent a day preparing the site and then in the following week continued the restoration of the native understory, with the help of students and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

During the day groups of between 20 and 30 Orange Grove Primary students, aged between four and 11, put together “seed bombs”, small packages of native seeds mixed with clay and soil. These mixtures, containing the everlasting wildflower seed, were then thrown into the school garden where they will remain on the ground until dissolved by rain and spring into life.

Neville Collard, a Whadjuk Elder, spoke with students, sharing stories linked to the Banksia Woodland as well as taking them through the art of throwing a boomerang and creating tools from natural materials.

School principal Mrs Lesley Ghent said: “We are thrilled to be part of this community initiative. It’s great to see students engaged in a way that is fun while also being educational, they can get their hands dirty while learning about the native environment and helping with the restoration of it”.

“All these activities are linked to the Western Australia school curriculum, specifically sustainability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural learnings. It’s fantastic Neville is able to bring the curriculum to life.”

Boral’s Group Health, Safety and Environment Director, Michael Wilson, said Boral has partnered with Conservation Volunteers Australia since 1988 through the Connected Communities Program.

“Over the last seven years Boral has supported more than 200 school projects across Australia, including the construction of frog ponds, kitchen gardens, Indigenous food and sensory gardens, restoring wetland habitat areas and rejuvenating outdoor learning spaces,” Mr Wilson said.

“We are delighted to have celebrated over 30 years of partnership with Conservation Volunteers Australia, our longest-standing community partner, which reflects our long-term commitment to supporting the communities in which we operate.”

The CEO of Conservation Volunteers Australia, Phil Harrison, said: “The Program provides a creative, fun and engaging way for students and community groups to learn about their local environment. With the support of Boral these conservation projects become a reality, leaving a lasting legacy for everyone to enjoy.”

Schools receiving assistance through Boral in 2019 are located in every state. Local parks and reserves will also benefit from the support of the Connected Communities Program.

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