Sharynne Durbridge and Keeley Webb cut the tape while Gemma Evans and Jake look on at the opening the new garden at the Gympie special school
Sharynne Durbridge and Keeley Webb cut the tape while Gemma Evans and Jake look on at the opening the new garden at the Gympie special school Renee Pilcher

Garden teaches hands on learning

AN exciting organic sensory market garden project has been set up at Gympie Special School to give students real-life learning experiences in gardening and recycling.

The project, which was made possible through a $25,000 grant from Nestlé Gympie will see students produce food in an organic and sustainable way as part of their learning activities. Garden project co-ordinator Carol Badger said the project would provide important hands-on learning opportunities for students.

“We're very excited about the sustainable sensory garden project. Students will learn about the responsibility and reward for shared ownership of an area of land and will be encouraged to explore and discover all the elements that make a garden,” the upper-school teacher said.

The project is part of Nestlé's Community Environment Program and will provide an opportunity for students to watch the progress of the vegetables, from seedlings right through to tasting and selling the crop.

Fresh produce grown in the organic market garden will ultimately be used by senior students in the school tuckshop as part of their small business catering enterprise.

“This is a fantastic project that Nestlé is proud to be supporting as it will enable the children to develop an understanding of eco sustainability and concepts in a very unique and creative way,” Nestlé Gympie manager Todd Yates said.

Works to be undertaken this year include soil preparation, the installation of raised garden beds, (to allow students in wheelchairs to participate in the project) and the creation of a composting area with a worm farm set-up. The project funding also provides for fencing around the garden and a water tank to irrigate the garden beds.

Each class will be allocated responsibility for a particular garden bed to foster ownership for the care and maintenance of the sensory garden. Throughout the project, students will learn skills such as plant propagation, recycling of organic matter and be provided with lessons to enhance their knowledge of conservation, horticulture and small business management. The Nestlé Community Environment Program works to improve the environment in local communities around Australia.

Gympie Times


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