Bungwahl Public School
Bungwahl Public School a small rural primary school situated in a tranquil location that provides a unique opportunity for environmental education.
In mid-2011 the school was awarded the ‘United Nations Association of Australia’s Environmental School Winner’.
Who is involved in the program?
The kids! Running the school garden is a project that all our students and teachers are involved in. The environmental education program was initiated by Nikki Dixon, who was able to secure $130,000 in funding for the implementation of the program. Volunteers are an integral aspect and extremely valued component of the program.
What prompted you to start this program?
I felt the school canteen was teaching the kids to eat unhealthy processed foods that impacted heavily on the environment. My philosophy was that we send our kids to school to be educated and the canteen could and should be another aspect of that education. Engaging the children in using produce they have grown to create healthy meals for their canteen.
The outcome is a profitable healthy canteen that produces less food miles as well as packaging waste.
What do you grow and produce?
Everything we do revolves around what’s growing at that time in the school gardens, so our menu and activities change with the seasons. We offer everything from snacks and lunches, to seedlings and plants, and even produce natural mosquito repellant using organic ingredients and infused oils - some from the school gardens.
What are your core beliefs?
My belief is that as educators we need to approach learning not merely as the acquisition of knowledge. It’s important to me that the students understand how our consumer culture is impacting on the natural environment and for them to explore how they are contributing towards this problem. Kids can change the future but they need to be given the knowledge and tools to make that change now. They need to be thinking about these things, solving these problems, thinking of ways forward and practicing ways of living sustainably, inspiring them to come up with strategies that they can put into action through interconnections between them and the natural environment; a sustainable futures perspective of the Global Education Framework.
The students are what get me out of bed in the morning as they are the ones who inspire me. Working with them over the last 12 years has opened my eyes to other ways of education. I have found that if children are passionate and engaged in their learning they come up with the most amazing ideas. I am also aware of how I as an educator can either constrict these ideas or support their natural growth by offering open ended intentional learning strategies through the diversity that the natural environment offers. A natural production that educates the whole child, through identity and a love for the natural environment that offers a sense of hope for their future and their planet.
What does it mean to be part of the Great Lakes Food Trail?
I love that we are all doing different things whilst sharing the same goal. “REAL FOOD” the core value of The Great Lakes Food Trail