This article was recently published on the Landcarer site. It tells our biodiversity story.
From Barren Wasteland to Biodiversity Classroom
The Mentone Primary School Story
In 2019, Mentone Primary School began a new Specialist subject- Sustainability. We began the year with an audit of the school. Students walked around and pointed out areas they thought needed improvement. We then collated ideas to see what students thought were highest priorities.
There was one absolute standout area- the front nature strip. The earth was cracked, the couch grass and weed had died over summer and it looked like an uncared for barren wasteland…and so it became our Sustainability classroom.
We learnt to identify weeds and began to eradicate them using our spades to help us dig out roots and all. The ground was so dry and hard we had to use big adult shovels at times to get to the bottom of the roots.
Once we had cleared the area, we got a donation of bark chips from the local tree lopper and used it to cover the area hoping it would help to retain moisture in the soil and when it turned into mulch it would add some much-needed nutrients.
Imagine our surprise and excitement three months later when we had another weeding session and we found worms and other insects.
Luck struck us in the form of a Woolworths Landcare grant, and this enabled us to begin our next step. With help from the Bayside Community Plant Nursery we were able to spend our money on plants, indigenous to the area, which they plant from seeds they collect locally. They helped us to identify drought resistant plants which were suitable for the coastal area.
Our tiny tube plants were planted and we re-covered the area with mulch. Over summer our plants were watered by nature and now they have flourished into small, and not so small bushes.
We have learnt so much about our little nature strip and hope that we have provided new homes for birds and animals along the way. We look forward to completing our bio-diversity module this year and seeing what creatures we can identify in this area.