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Planting a bright future


Developing a sense of custodianship of the land among young people is at the heart of a nature garden and butterfly project at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish School, Pennington.

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In 2019, through the Cultural Artist in Residence program, students began learning about the importance of place and custodianship with Kaurna elder Karl Telfer.

The students came up with a number of climate change projects across the school to recognise its presence on Kaurna land, including a welcome to country based on a 100-year-old gum tree at the front of the school known as ‘our grandmother tree’ or ‘Kamamami Kirra’.

Fast forward two years and the Year 4 students, or ‘custodians’, are now in Year 6 and have been working with Greening Adelaide and Bring Back the Butterflies to revegetate an unused verge outside the school pick-up area.

An irrigation system has been installed and last term the students planted native trees and shrubs that will attract butterflies, insects and birds back to the area.

Deidre Knight from Bringing Back the Butterflies, has been showing the students how to plant, propagate cuttings and create a seed bank. The students will also be working with Dr Erinn Fagan-Jefferies, entomologist and Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Adelaide University. They will be erecting nets to monitor the insects in the area.

A chainwire fence has been erected along the footpath through a grant from the Port Adelaide and Enfield Council and the butterfly garden received a Greening Adelaide grant.

Vivienne Dichiera, Year 6 teacher and the school’s Sustainability coordinator, said students in the BGPG (Butterfly Garden Project Group) had lead the project and put a lot of work into the project, including preparing a 3D model and a video for the school board and other stakeholders.

Vivienne said residents in bordering streets of Rosewater and Pennington have been notified and updated of the project to encourage their involvement and partnership.

Helen Neall, who lives next door to the school, is a local parishioner who helps the school with liturgies and Masses. She hoped to be able to use some of the flowers for the church altar and was also looking forward to spotting more butterflies in her garden.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea. It’s just been a bare, weed-ridden spot for a long time so it will be lovely to see it greened up and colourful,” she said.


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