Parndana students get hands dirty for a cleaner, greener future in their back paddock
Students at the Kangaroo Island Community Education Parndana Campus recently fenced a waterlogged area in their 'Back Paddock' and planted 200 water tolerant native plants to prevent future salinity, through funding from the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board’s Grassroots Grants program and assistance from the KI Native Plant Nursery Manager Jo McPhee.
Students at the Kangaroo Island Community Education Parndana Campus recently planted 200 water tolerant natives in a section of their school grounds to prevent future salty soil problems.
The rehabilitation work was assisted by KI Native Plant Nursery Manager Jo McPhee, who talked with the students about appropriate plant selection and native seed collection ahead of the work.
The planting and fencing of the Parndana Campus 'Back Paddock' has been made possible through the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board’s Grassroots Grants program.
Parndana teacher Grant Millard said the chosen rehabilitation site adjacent to Playford Highway is an old watercourse which remains wet for a large portion of the year.
“We fenced it off and the students are now planting suitable KI natives to re-establish a block of vegetation as a small shelterbelt that will act as a habitat for local flora, fauna and bird life,” Mr Millard said.
“The students have gained experience in the construction of fencing for the designated area, as well as researching, identifying, procuring and planting out suitable KI natives. One of the central themes of our leaning program focusses on ‘Regenerative’ and ‘Sustainable’ Agriculture so we see it as an ideal opportunity to model one the key strategies underpinning this approach to farming.”
Year 9 student Rhianna Williams said she would take the knowledge and skills learnt from the project and apply it on her family farm.
“The island has a big salt problem and we can take what we learn here at school and apply it on our own farms. We need to reduce the salt to help crops grow properly as well,” Rhianna said.
“To get rid of the water, we can use trees, and then the trees give shelter for all the other animals. With the sheoaks that we’re planting, that creates extra habitat for the glossy black cockatoos, where they can eat. We’re just trying to get all the wildlife here. It’s good to be out in nature and knowing that you’re helping and you’re doing something to make a difference.”
KI Native Plant Nursery Manager Jo McPhee said it was encouraging to see the enthusiasm and curiosity of the students involved in the project.
“There were a lot of really intelligent questions about seed collection and planting choices, and the transformation of this unusable paddock will be inspiring to watch over the coming years,” Ms McPhee said. “These kids are our future farmers and land carers, and it’s comforting to know they have a commitment and interest in restoration.”
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