Thanks to the 2021 Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity Grants Newham Primary School has an exciting project we have been working on throughout 2021 and 2022. We are creating a Biodiversity Learning Hub (BLH). We identified an area of the school ground, adjacent to Deep Creek tributary, that we are revegetating with native plant species and other natural features such as rocks, logs and habitat boxes, providing habitat for a greater diversity of animals, from gliders to native bees. Apart from such a worthy goal, our BLH will also be an outdoor teaching and learning “classroom”. We have a seating area for classes, pathways that will have numbered points of interest, signage including Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung language names/values, nest boxes, native bee/bug hotel, a weather station, photo points for monitoring, and have purchased lots of equipment such as motion sensor cameras, binoculars and magnifying bug observers. The students have been learning about Newham’s district fauna and flora and their habitat needs, building bug hotels, planting seedlings and setting up the area. The students and teachers have worked in partnership with families who have helped plant and set up the outdoor classroom, the Macedon Ranges Shire Council who have provided some plants, nest boxes, mulch and a presentation, and the Newham District Landcare Group who have mentored, and provided expertise and access to plants. Come and visit our Biodiversity Learning Hub at Newham Primary School.
Take a look at the case study on the Junior Landcare website:
Kids Teaching Kids Virtual Conference Submission
National Landcare Award Acceptance Speech
Kids Teaching Kids Activity Sheets - links below
Sustainability and Science
At Newham Primary School it is not uncommon to walk into a classroom to find a mushroom farm or an insect brought inside at the end of recess by an enthusiastic student.
In addition to the sustainability studies we are undertaking as part of the ResourceSmart modules, a key focus of the school’s environmental and science curriculum is to make use of the opportunity to study the environment at the back door. A specialist teacher takes students for weekly science lessons and the local environment is often featured in the students’ learning.
Living more sustainably has extended to the veggie patch which is now part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. Students have learned about constructing wicking garden beds, composting and when best to plant and harvest.
Partnering with Landcare
The Newham and District Landcare Group formed in 2004 and has had an association with the school since 2006. The group works to re-vegetate and rehabilitate land and promote sustainability in the community.
Working closely with the school has helped to showcase the work of Landcare, as well as improve the school environmentally and aesthetically.
The Junior Landcare Program is delivered across the school and is actively involved in maintaining and enhancing the biodiversity around the school. Indigenous plants, maintaining and monitoring the frog bog and learning about our unique flora and fauna are current projects.
Long-Term Environmental Monitoring
A tributary of Deep Creek runs along one border of the school. As part of our Science Program senior students work with our Science teacher to assess the creek.
The program was started with the support of the Landcare group and the grade 5 and 6 students have been testing the water in the creek as part of the Waterwatch program for nearly 9 years.
Water Watch also teaches students many scientific skills such as the accurate use and reading of scientific equipment, recording of scientific data and interpreting results.