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Ecology message thriving at seaside school

Schools

Five years on from the launch of Laudato Si’, Star of the Sea School at Henley Beach is reaping the benefits of caring for our common earth.

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With the help of Henley Beach parishioner David Spencer, students have cultivated a thriving veggie garden with produce used for student cooking classes and sold at a weekly market stall.

“Our kitchen garden is full of life at the moment,” said Year 3 teacher and Sustainability coordinator Lisa Russell.

“The Year 6 Eco-Warriors have been picking fresh beans and tomatoes from the garden, mixing up worm tea and collecting eggs to sell on our market stall Wednesday afternoons.”

Lisa said students in the cooking program usually came up with a recipe based on ingredients sourced from the garden, such as herbs for focaccias or vegetables for quiches and frittata.

In addition, fresh produce and ‘worm tea’ liquid fertiliser is sold to parents and carers at the weekly market stall.

The programs have been put on hold during the coronavirus restrictions but Lisa is hoping they will resume soon as there are lots of snow peas and other vegetables ready to be harvested.

She said the aim of the veggie garden was to encourage children to have an idea of where food comes from and where it ends up.

“All our food waste goes into compost bins which turns it into soil for use in the garden,” she said.

“Our children have a really good understanding of how they are connected with the ocean because we are so close to it and so they can see that everything we do at school directly influences the sea.

“This is the basis for all our waste reduction programs in the school.”

Lisa said having David help out in the garden was “brilliant”.

“It’s great to have someone who has the garden as their priority and can work with the children,” she said.

David said having grandchildren at the school meant there was often an opportunity to catch up with them and meet their friends.

“Sometimes students will talk about their own garden at home, what is growing and what vegetable they like to eat the most,” he said.

“A few seeds are sometimes offered to interest students to encourage them to plant at home to expand their interest.”

In addition to the veggie garden and market stall project, Year 2 students at Star of the Sea have been writing ‘Caring for God’s creation’ pledges.

The Vatican announced last month that it will commemorate the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment with a year-long series of initiatives dedicated to care for the earth.

A special Laudato Si’ Anniversary Year from May 24 2020 to May 24 2021 will emphasise “ecological conversion in action”.

 

 

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