13 lads from Warrawong High school, who had never been on a school camp before, came on a Landcare Camp at The Crossing in the first week of August. Not only did they learn about Landcare but they also learnt about design for sustainability and habitat survey. All were from the steel town of Port Kembla and were chosen by their teacher Aaron Sorrenson as a result of their contribution to the school permaculture gardens. The students were assisted to come on this occasion thanks to the generosity of The Bethesda Trust who donated sponsorship to The Crossing Land Education Trust’s gift fund.
Aaron Sorrenson, is a permaculture teacher who has changed the face of Port Kembla one school at a time by creating amazing school gardens. His young people have been featured on Gardening Australia with Kosta. Many of these students began their interest in agriculture at Cringilla Public School where Aaron and his volunteer helpers built a garden on nothing but old heaps of coal slag. I remember going there 8 years ago and there was still smoke coming out of the ground at the edge of the school as the coal slag smouldered underneath. Every young person I met in that garden was able to give me a tour and tell me what each plant was and what it is used for – they are permaculture ambassadors and very proud of their achievements.
The young people canoed the Bermagui River and contributed to landcare tree planting, food harvesting and cooking. They also completed an overnight hike and habitat survey in Biamanga National Park. They shared stories, laughs and knowledge around a campfire and they got to know the bush. They all appreciated the opportunity. The thanks they gave us for the camp was heartfelt.
The Crossing’s challenge is to annually fundraise $5000 to continue half-scholarships to this particularly disadvantaged school. Then a girls and a boys group from Warrawong will be able to extend their knowledge of gardening to Landcare, broader scale systems, and an understanding of the Australian bush.
Thanks to Billy Cooper and Nick McClaren, ABC Australia Wide for permission to upload this excerpt of 29 August 2015 to YouTube.
Cheers, Dean Turner, Project Director, The Crossing Land Education Trust.