Hundreds of Mornington Peninsula schoolchildren were last week taking in the environment message as relayed by such presenters as Lionel Lauch, above right. Ivy, Lily and Jaeda, bottom left, from Osborne Primary School, showed their “bug hotels”, while Kyren, above left, had his hands full with worms. Jackson, Grace, Max, Jay, Cioper, Kaylah from Benton Junior College, Mornington, were busy discovering how big things can grow from a seedling.
ENVIRONMENT Week at The Briars historic property, Mt Martha included activities and half-day programs for students in years 1-6.
Schools could choose Engaging with Nature, Indigenous Connection to Country, Homestead Heritage and Sustainable Living with children exploring two areas in their chosen program.
In Engaging with Nature, students took part in weaving and visited the Briars Nature Nook to check for birds, bats and wildlife in the nesting boxes, as well as read interpretative signs. On the wetlands boardwalk they stopped to explore the sounds, plants and animals, and observed and sketched birds with Birdlife Mornington Peninsula. Some got close to emus and wallabies.
Local leaders explained Aboriginal culture while the students tasted bush tucker and gained insights into bush craft, language and community. Indigenous man Lionel Lauch shared his knowledge of food and fibre plants and wetlands flora. He led the children through the wetlands, while explaining how the plants are harvested and used for food, medicine and utensils.
The Briars Homestead was home to the Balcombe family from 1846-1976 and students saw how life was then and now. They were shown how the family thrived in an isolated colony where “reduce, reuse and recycle” were commonplace. They visited the heritage vegetable garden to see pumpkins, carrots and strawberries grown organically then and now.
Years 3-6 students explored the Eco Living Display Centre and learned about “living green”. They saw first-hand how they can reduce waste at home and learn about decomposition, and investigated what things can influence energy efficiency. Monash Prime Science Team hosted hands-on science activities to create and measure energy.