December 13, 2013
The Get Outdoors, My Green Wall program was introduced by Stihl Australia in May this year to encourage school children to get outdoors to enjoy the wonders of nature. To date the program has installed almost 50 vertical gardens in schools across Australia. Each school has received a complete kit comprising a steel frame structure carrying up to thirty pots. The wall installation is supported by curriculum compliant educational and teaching materials for Grade 3 students, as well as inclusive take-home materials for each child to share with their family
My eldest son has been in Prep this year at school. We were very fortunate to have been involved in the installation of a My Green Wall at his school this month.
The wonderful thing about the Stihl initiative is that it fitted with the school curriculum perfectly. As part of the grade 3 and 4 Program of Inquiry at the school they inquired into how plants are a natural resource and play an essential role in human and animal life. They investigated food webs and chains and how plants play a role in all of them. Over the year the class also did some cooking to learn about the ingredients and their origin. The teachers of the grade 3 and 4 class told me that “..planting the My Green Wall allowed the children to see the bigger picture and tied in beautifully with our investigations this year.“
I attended the planting and witnessed the fun and excitement that the children displayed creating their wall, and receiving their own take home kits. Since the planting day, when I collect and drop off my son to school I watch with interest as I see the kids enthusiastically taking care of their pots, watering, watching and tending to them.
If you have children in school I am sure that you will recall the steep learning curve of the first year! As the year progressed, I have been impressed with the range of environmental activities and initiatives of our school. It is a public school and is maintained almost entirely by parent volunteers.
The school grounds are managed by one of the parents. She is a dedicated and energetic lady who has initiated, implemented and maintained some wonderful things in the school grounds. Here are a few of them:
Water: Storm water is caught in a large pit and pumped to a main tank. The water is used in the main boys & girls toilets. The remainder of the water is monitored and used on the oval & garden beds. A tank attached to another building also catches water to use for the toilets in that building.
Solar: Used to heat water and reduce power consumption.
Composting: food scraps are collected in buckets in the classroom and taken to the 3 bins near the greenhouse. The children are taught what type of food is suitable for composting.
Mulching: continuously topped up around the grounds to preserve ground moisture and maintain plant health.
Fruit trees, vegetable and herb plantings are all around the grounds
Chooks: are kept at the school and are looked after by the students during the year and a roster of families over the holidays. The families that participate can collect and use the eggs. Some food scraps from the canteen are also fed to the animals.
Pizza Oven: Built with the involvement of the children for the school’s use. The My Green Wall has been planted near to the pizza oven so that the herbs that are planted can be used on the many future pizzas to be made.
I am thrilled that my son attends a school that values the environment and natural resources and seeks to teach this to the children in various forms and via numerous initiatives. I did not know that they did these things when we enrolled him in the school. I am looking forward to learning more next year and being more involved where I can.
Thank you to Stihl for initiating such a worthwhile program. I am thrilled that our school had the opportunity to be involved and I am hoping to get to taste some of the pizzas that are destined to be created in the new oven with the herbs that the children have planted and are growing.
You can find out more about Stihl’s initiative here.
Does your school have some inspiring green initiatives – or are you due to start children at school in the new year? If so does this factor into your selection process?
I would love to hear about your schools initiatives. Please share them in the comments below.
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