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Wittunga wunderkind

Date posted: 04 July 2016

Have you ever been to one of our gardens for a school excursion? Perhaps you’ve learnt about plants through our Education program? Or maybe you’ve signed up for one of our Masterclasses to become a better gardener?

If so, you’ve probably come to the realisation that a botanic garden really is one of the best classrooms you can find.

It’s a lesson Year 8 students from Urrbrae Agricultural High School have learnt recently through a new eight-week project in conjunction with the City of Mitcham and Wittunga Botanic Garden.

Each Monday morning about 25 students arrive at Wittunga to work on an area of the garden, which might involve weeding, light pruning, clearing, mulching, etc.

It’s the latest in a string of community engagement projects the school have undertaken with the council over the past few years, and Wittunga staff couldn’t be happier about what the students have achieved in the Garden since they started here in May.

Why have we been digging it so much?

  • It’s given our horticultural staff an opportunity to work with school students and provide them with new experiences, new skills and hopefully a desire to broaden their horticultural knowledge and involvement.
  • It’s a great opportunity for Wittunga Botanic Garden to engage and connect new people from the community to be directly involved in their botanic garden. Hopefully students will take away some fond memories and connection through their experience.
  • With approximately 25 students providing a full morning’s work, we achieve extra operational outcomes that couldn’t be completed with just our staff. The areas we’ve targeted for this project have been greatly improved in general presentation and we’ve even smashed more work than what we’d initially anticipated. Great work, team!

It’s clear the school has been loving the partnership too. Urrbrae Year 8 coordinator Mark Zivkovic (perhaps better known as Mr Zed) told the Mitcham and Hills Messenger, “It gets them thinking about the world, their place in it and themselves as a contributing citizen… they’ve got to have the headset right from the beginning, that it’s about rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands dirty and actually doing the work that makes the difference… we’re trying to breed people who are going to leave the school and make a difference in the world”

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Urrbrae students and the City of Mitcham for making a real difference, and to the Blackwood Action Group for helping facilitate the partnership.

If you’d like to learn more about volunteering opportunities at our three gardens – for young and old – visit our Volunteering page or our Little Sprouts volunteering page.

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