Page 2333 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022
Canberra Montessori School—gang-gang cockatoos
MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (6.24): As I start this, I would like to acknowledge that we have a few guests in the gallery who have been waiting some time because we have gone so late. I just wanted to say hello.
A few months ago I received a postcard in the mail from Adelaide, in Karri class at the Canberra Montessori School. It said:
Gang-gang numbers and habitat have declined greatly. They need help NOW! Can you come to our school and see what we are doing?
It was a pleasure to accept Adelaide’s invitation.
At the end of July, I visited the school with my colleague local MLA Emma Davidson to help plant habitat for gang-gangs with the class. The weather was overcast, but nothing could have dampened our spirits or those of the students. With Indigenous plant expert Aaron Chatfield and Michael Mulvaney from Birdlife Australia’s “Gaga for Gang-Gangs” project for schools, which inspired the class’s efforts, we all got stuck in.
I learnt how enthusiastically the students have embraced the project. They have researched gang-gang numbers around eastern Australia and the ACT. They have looked at the issues associated with the decline of gang-gang populations and habitats. They looked at bird and tree surveys to work out whether the area was suitable to be planted with gang-gang friendly trees. Having completed their research, they planted over 20 trees from Birdlife Australia to increase local gang-gang habitat on the school grounds. On top of that, they also saved their pocket money to raise over $400 for the purchase and installation of birdbaths. It was a fantastic effort.
The area we planted was next to the school’s Indigenous bush food garden, which they are creating as part of their reconciliation food garden. It includes a yarning circle and vegetable and berry planters. After an incredibly sobering State of the Environment Report, getting my hands dirty alongside our younger generation reminded me again of why it is so important to protect our endangered species and our planet.
The efforts of Karri class, and many others across our territory, make a real difference to our future. They are inspiring and they fill me with so much hope. So my concluding words are from some of the students themselves about their experience. Augie said:
It’s been hard work shovelling soil and mulch, but it was worth it because it is going to help gang-gangs and other birds and animals. It is a very nice path to walk along. I’m looking forward to having classes in the yarning circle and working in the veggie beds.