VCAL students get closer to nature

30 August 2017

Getting closer to nature, learning handy outdoor skills and promoting sustainable living are ongoing pursuits for VCAL students at ECG College in Pakenham this semester.

Outdoor adventures including bushwalking excursions, as well as tree planting sessions held at the Pakenham campus, involved several class groups last week.

Native shrubs and grasses planted by students along the front and side of the school as part of ECG College’s National Tree Day project were donated by Pakenham Toyota.

VCAL students tree planting at ECG Pakenham

VCAL students Isabelle, Alex and Elizabeth planting native grasses and shrubs at ECG College's Pakenham campus.

This local business also funded planting kits for ECG College including plastic sleeves and bamboo poles to provide weather protection for the newly established plants. Maryknoll Indigenous Plant Nursery loaned students tree planting gear on the day.

Class teacher Kim Caldwell said the students involved made a great contribution in planting trees at the campus and making the surrounding environment more sustainable. 

“They’ve also been making planter boxes for lemon and lime trees. Our students often benefit from workshops at Bunnings Pakenham and their local activities organiser kindly donated two citrus trees and potting mix to use,” Ms Caldwell said.

Horticulture Trainer Andrea Tindle helped students select suitable planting sites for trees, shrubs and grasses around the campus. She also worked with them to build a planter box for the lemon tree, which the students spray-painted with stencil art.

“This was a great way for our students to learn new skills including tree planting, seedling care and pruning tips,” Ms Caldwell said.

Other local students from the Pakenham ECG College campus also kept active visiting Birdsland Reserve last Thursday for a bushwalking trip into the southern Dandenongs.

Head of School Jamie Robertson said that while the resident platypus remained elusive, the students had a great day in the 75ha bushland reserve. After sharing a barbeque lunch, they observed plenty of birdlife and wildlife including kookaburras and kangaroos.

“A busload of ECG College students from Warragul and Pakenham campuses also tackled a high ropes course in the sunshine at Belgrave earlier last week,” he said.

“These activities are all great practical experiences for our students and teach them hands-on skills about the environment and sustainable living.

“The great outdoors is a brilliant classroom which encourages lifelong learning.”

Mr Robertson said ECG College was very fortunate to have suitable destinations on the doorstop of all three campuses at Pakenham, Warragul and Leongatha.

“It’s vital all our students have a wide range of opportunities to explore the natural environment and get to work effectively as a team on different challenges and projects,” he said.

“We are lucky to have so many resourceful young people attending ECG College and our VCAL classes.

“They are all capable individuals and it’s good to see many taking on more responsibility for the quality of their environs on campus, as well as their own lives.”

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