KILLARA PRIMARY SCHOOL’S ORCHARD & NATIVE BEE HOTEL
Back in July 2014, after receiving a plum tree as part of the Sunbury Community Health Centre’s Healthy Living Hume Program, the Sustainability Team at Killara Primary School in Sunbury had a dream – Let’s create an Orchard! The local paper (Star Weekly) ran the story and the following week we had an offer from Sunbury Community Health Centre to match one for one any fruit trees we could source. With that, we rang Bunnings in Sunbury (who had also seen the article) and were keen to donate 6 trees – and so we were on our way – a 13 tree orchard!
A site had already been chosen (a revegetation site that connects the school grounds with Blind Creek Reserve – the site was a degraded area with galenia, cape weed and other weeds that were impacting on our revegetation), so we set to work and created a 12m x 12m grid with markings for the holes which were dug on September 19 by a local contractor. Staff planted, staked and ‘guarded’ the trees on September 22, 2014. The guards were extremely important as we had (and still have) a problem with rabbits, they would have quickly stripped the trees if given the chance. Volunteer parents and students came in during the September school holidays and mulched the whole area. Recently we have had a border put around the area and also have created a Native Bee ‘Hotel’. Native bees don’t sting so are ideal pollinators within a school. The area is now an exciting, productive and ‘fruitful’ part of our school environment providing an example to our school community and the neighbouring childcare centre, whose children watch our endeavours with interest.
You can often see our students out there looking after the orchard – watering, weeding, top-up mulching etc. Our plan for the future is to continue to promote healthy eating and share the fruit with our students once the trees mature.
Killara Primary School is involved in Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Schools initiative. This year (2016) we are currently working on the Biodiversity Module and both these projects will help us attain certification, getting us closer to becoming a 5 Star ResourceSmart School.