Using a Roots & Shoots approach, Athol Road Primary School in Victoria converted an unused area of their school into a sustainable wetland, complete with native wildlife.
An area of unused land in the school was identified as the perfect opportunity for a student-led project that would benefit animals, people and/or the environment (APE). The area was then mapped and found to contain stormwater drainage points. The students decided on a wetland project, which are natural features of the Greater Dandenong region.
With the help of the staff, students, parents and local businesses, the area was converted into a sustainable wetland. Once complete, the students celebrated by introducing native turtles and frogs into the wetland.
This project has served to benefit all aspects of APE:
A: Not only is the wetland home to the turtles and frogs that were released, it has attracted many other native species of birds, insects and reptiles.
P: The landscape acts as a teaching and learning platform for the students who regularly visit the area for weekly hands-on classes. Being outdoors amongst nature has proven benefits both physically and mentally, and has been shown to improve memory, concentration and productivity – all important factors in the classroom.
E: The wetland is a sustainable, fully-recirculating setup. Wetlands are a natural feature of the region and the indigenous species of grasses and plants that were selected to remove pollutants and improve the water quality. Many materials used to make the wetland were recycled from around the school and the local community.
Youth-led projects not only help develop real-life skills, but they also foster a sense of pride, ownership and appreciation for the world around them. This is important in developing the skills necessary to become compassionate leaders. What a wonderful achievement by Athol Road Primary School!
For more info on how you can join Roots & Shoots and create an amazing project in your school visit https://rootsandshoots.org.au/about-roots-shoots/