Cranbourne West P.S. lies in one of the biggest growth corridors in Australia, about 50km south east from Melbourne. Housing estates are popping up all over the place in this region. Most estates don’t seem to want to be connected to the broader community, to make community links outside their own boundaries. So it was encouraging when the representatives from Allarah Estate contacted us to offer any assistance with improving biodiversity at our school.
This couldn’t have come at a better time as our school was going through a revolution in terms of becoming a sustainable school, and getting onboard with this massive movement to educate the leaders of tomorrow the importance of being sustainable, of being aware of the footprint that we all leave, and of how we can all make a difference.
Since 2009 we had accomplished many things at our school. We had solar panels installed, thanks to the National Solar Schools Initiative, we created a kitchen garden, including many garden beds, which where designed and built by the students, water tanks, a hothouse, outdoor kitchen, compost bays, worm farms, massive murals which our students designed and created, just to name a few.
After many meetings and telephones calls we were finally able to acquire professionals that were willing to take on the job. The partnership with Alarah was so beneficial for the creation of our frog pong. They provided the labour to undertake all the big aspects of the project. They cleared the area of debris, used the bobcat to dig out the pond, placed large rocks and boulders throughout the space, built bridges and viewing platforms, put in place the waterproof membrane that would form the pond and provided enough plants to create a little oasis in our school.
Once all the major earthworks and building had taken place it was up to our students to put their stamp on the project. Lisa Bull and Fred Toan had our students working very hard at creating paths, planting hundreds of different plants, mulching all the garden beds and spreading crushed rock for the paths. All students from prep to grade 6 were involved at some level and it is now home to frogs, which we are all very pleased about.
This has been a terrific project that has included support from the corporate world, our local community, the school community, teachers and most importantly the students. Our school looks forward to a continued partnership with Alarah in the future.
Written by: Luke Abdallah (Leading Teacher at Cranbourne West PS)