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Wallan East students help the environment

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Students from Our Lady of The Way Catholic Primary School in Wallan East planted trees on school grounds last week as part of National Tree Day.

Grade fives and six students stepped out of the classroom, rotating from the school’s veggie garden to planting about 80 native trees to learning how the environment is a fragile ecosystem.

The primary school partnered with Mitchell Shire Council and Merri Creek Landcare to teach the students about the flora and fauna they are contributing to. 

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Mitchell Shire environment coordinator Elyse Kelly talked to the students, showing different species of native plants for students to think about how they grow and adapt to the environment.

“They are happy to be outside getting their hands dirty and doing something that they will know will have longevity in the playground. We spoke about how big some of these trees will grow and the flowers that will come in the springtime,” she said.

“We spoke about different animals, flora and fauna in Wallan in particular, and how this school and this whole area is built on the remnants of the Hernes swamp.”

Grade five and six teacher Mark van Zyl said students were excited to plant trees, taking on an opportunity to learn outside the classroom. 

“We need to do more of it I think, the hands-on stuff, and that’s the way they’re going to create memories forever. I hope they can take it back home and look after their gardens at home a little bit more too,” he said.

“To take responsibility now to clean our grounds and hopefully then they will take pride in it and continue doing it. As leaders of the school too, it’s their job to teach others.”

Upper Merri Creek landcare facilitator Chris Cobern also participated in the school’s National Tree Day activity, informing the students about the rare birds and animals within the area.

“By revegetating this area here, the kids learn about types of plants and purposes these plants have in the environment,” he said.

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