“Back to Eden”
Our theme for 2018 was “Back to Eden” which tied in with our efforts towards our Biodiversity module for ResourceSmart. Our aim this year was to gather together our school community, from early primary right through to upper secondary, parents and staff in order to appreciate the beautiful landscape we enjoy at our school. With this in mind, the theme ‘Back to Eden’, thinking back to the images of beauty, perfection and purpose described in Genesis 1 seemed particularly appropriate for this year.
Loving our locals
Over the last few years our Horticulture staff have tried to encourage the return of native species of birds recently lost to our area. One particular wildlife issue we have had at our school has been the high numbers of predatory birds such as Ravens and Mynahs that have driven away a lot of smaller native birds such as finches and wagtails.
How do you re-introduce a native species back to your backyard?
The answer to this question is not an obvious one. As one of the activities during our Environmental Week (E-Week) for 2018, we posed this question to our year 8 maths classes as part of their Statistics topic.
Responses from students ranged from ‘chasing out the nasty birds’, ‘providing safe places for native birds’ to ‘cleaning up our school preventing scraps building up’. The answer turned out to be a bit of a blend of all of these.
Our head of horticulture led a session discussing different varieties of native trees and bushes on our property, and how the introduction of more understorey vegetation actually limited the vision and accessibility of predatory birds to food and clear flight paths making the environment a bit more tricky for them to live in. Smaller native birds are more at home flitting between small bushes and looking for food amongst the undergrowth, so strategic planting can not only deter larger birds, but also encourage smaller natives to return.
Our Year 8s then undertook a large vegetation survey of the grounds, identifying tree species and understorey vegetation cover which was really helpful in drawing out their understanding and summarising information using statistical displays and maps.
A word from our captains
Environment week at Donvale was a complete success, with students celebrating and learning about the beautiful surroundings that we have the privilege of experiencing every day at school.
The week began on Friday the 24th of July with the Preps and Year 12’s planting trees together for National Tree Day. We started the week with our head of Horticulture speaking at Secondary Assembly about the impact of our ‘footprint’ and gave the students tips on how to protect the delicate environment that Donvale boasts.
In primary, Mrs McClay directed a drama about the ‘ferals’ at Donvale and properly dealing with them. Roberto the Connie and his species card incursion was also a big hit with the primaries as they learnt about all the different kinds of species that call Donvale home.
On the last day of E-Week, the Secondary Students had the privilege of listening to Chris Humphrey, a zoologist, talk about some of the animals who live around the College. Not only did we learn about the animals, we got an up-close look at them and maybe a cuddle or two. This was the perfect ending to illustrate to everyone at Donvale how their choices directly affect everything in the college and why we should bring Donvale Christian College ‘Back to Eden’.
As the Environment Captains for this year, we would like to thank everyone who spent hours making this week the successful week it became. We hope that everyone continues to look after the beautiful grounds and care for the animals that we have at Donvale Christian College.